ESU’s presidential couple creates memorial scholarship

The close bonds of family have inspired ESU President Michael Lane and Dr. Peggy Lane to join family and friends to endow a scholarship fund in honor of President Lane’s late brother-in-law, Bob Rensink.

The Robert B. Rensink Memorial Scholarship supports students majoring in information systems with GPAs above 3.0.

“He valued education, and he valued family first,” said Dr. Peggy Lane, an associate professor in the department of accounting and information systems. “We did want some way to honor him, and it seemed to be something he would appreciate. He loved young people, and he absolutely loved family.”

Rensink, the husband of President Lane’s older sister, Roberta Lane Rensink of Andover, Mass., assumed a parental role for Lane in Lane’s teenage years. The Lanes and Rensinks remained quite close, visiting frequently and spending every Christmas morning together. When the Lanes married, Bob was the best man. He died in January 2008 at the age of 70 after a year-long battle with leukemia.

Rensink graduated from California Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo and was employed by General Electric, Honeywell and SBLI in the computer field. As a systems analyst, he worked in sales, interacting with customers in a winning way. He often mentored student interns, sharing his passion for life and work. Delivering the eulogy at Rensink’s funeral, Pres. Lane spoke of the professional advice he gathered from his brother-in-law: focus on relationships, openness, and honesty.

“Bob loved life and the opportunities life presented,” Pres. Lane said. “In his work and his personal life, relationships were the things that mattered. Working in the computer industry in the ’60s and ’70s he was primarily responsible for working with customers to ensure they received the systems they purchased. His focus was on creating customer satisfaction, and he excelled.”

The emphasis on relationships extended into his personal life, said Peggy Lane. “Bob never met a stranger. The mailman came to the funeral. How often do you see that? That really made an impression on me.”

Now his memory will be carried forward in the successes of ESU students.

“Bob would have been deeply honored and thrilled to have an information systems scholarship in his name,” Roberta Rensink said. “Education was extremely important to Bob.  I’m sure he would have had tears of joy just knowing this scholarship would help a student meet his or her educational dreams.”