In memoriam: James Robert Lang, Strickler Professor Emeritus in the Pamplin College of Business
James Robert Lang, who served as Strickler Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies in the Pamplin College of Business, passed away on Aug. 1, at the age of 82.
Born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on May 1, 1941, Lang earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University on an ROTC scholarship and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for several years after graduation. Following his military service, he obtained his master's degree from Northeastern University and his Ph.D. in business from the University of Massachusetts.
Lang began his career as a professor of business in 1976 at the University of Kentucky before joining the Virginia Tech community in 1990. In Blacksburg, Lang made significant contributions to teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of entrepreneurial leadership and strategic management.
Lang co-founded and was the inaugural director of the Business Leadership Center, which functions to educate, develop, and grow students’ leadership skills in preparation for their future careers. He also served as acting department head for the Department of Management, as department head of hospitality and tourism management, and as director of graduate studies for management.
“We are indebted to Jim for his impactful contributions to the Department of Management, Pamplin College of Business, and Virginia Tech,” said Devi Gnyawali, department head for the Department of Management. “Jim passionately and selflessly mentored numerous faculty and doctoral students and helped shape their careers. Jim chaired the search committee when I was hired in 1997, and he inspired and mentored me for many years.
Upon his retirement in 2011, Lang was conferred the title of Strickler Professor Emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
Even in retirement, Lang continued to contribute to Virginia Tech and the Pamplin College of Business. He and his wife, Lois, established the Lang-Daubert Fund in the Department of Management. According to Gnyawali, the scholarship fund supports first-generation students in the Department of Management.
Lang is survived by his wife, Lois; daughters, Jennifer Lloyd and Alison Barton; and four grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Saturday, Aug. 26, at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Blacksburg. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Lang-Daubert Scholarship Fund (#860643) at Virginia Tech, or to Luther Memorial Lutheran Church’s (Blacksburg) Music Ministry fund.