Dedicated Space

The Gary W. Laidlaw Room inside the Honors College pays tribute to a fond friend

Gary Laidlaw room in the Oakland University Honors College

The Gary Laidlaw Room in Oakland University's Honors College pays tribute to a fond friendship. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

In Memory

icon of a calendarSeptember 11, 2017

icon of a pencilBy Emell Derra Adolphus

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As colleagues in the banking business, Camille Jayne and Gary Laidlaw, CAS ’64, established a friendship that spanned decades.

“We were really joined at the hip,” says Jayne, former first vice president of investment products and corporate advertising at Comerica Bank. Jayne worked alongside Laidlaw, then vice president of sales, for six years beginning in 1987. And as a successful team, they were fast friends,” she says. “He was an excellent manager, certainly a great banker, and just a wonderful man all around.”

Earlier this year, the newly dedicated Gary W. Laidlaw Room in the Honors College was unveiled as a tribute to Jayne’s longstanding friendship with Laidlaw and his lifelong love of Oakland University.

Oakland University donor Camille Jayne helped open the Gary Laidlaw room in the Honors College

“Gary is an icon at Oakland, one of the University’s biggest advocates, donors and volunteers,” says Jayne, who made a gift to dedicate the room in his honor. “I wanted to do something now to make sure he was remembered up front, and very visible on OU’s campus. Especially in the Honors college from which he graduated.”

Born in Pontiac and raised in Oxford, Michigan, Laidlaw was in OU’s charter class, and maintained a close relationship with the University after graduation. He was a member of OUAA Board of Directors Executive Alumni Committee, served as director of the OU foundation, and encouraged Jayne to get involved with the University as a visiting lecturer in the School of Business Administration.

“Years ago, I asked Gary what local university he thought was excellent, and he told me about OU,” says Jayne, who still occasionally guest lectures in the MBA program at the University. “He was just one of Oakland’s greatest ambassadors.”

In his death, Laidlaw designated a part of his trust to establish an endowed scholarship in the future to support students in the Honors College. But the Gary Laidlaw room ensures he will have an immediate presence at the University, says Jayne. “It’s a large gathering place for the students. And his name would be mentioned multiple times a day as students utilize that space,” she says.

Outside the room, a plaque dedicated to Laidlaw reads, “In gratitude for his friendship and support.” It’s a sentiment that will surely be appreciated by future generations of OU students, thanks to Jayne's generous gift.

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