Ardrey Manning had to admit she was a little jealous when she learned where her son Lane's company was sending him for job training. He'd be spending two weeks in Cambridge, England, a place Ardrey fondly remembers from her own two years spent studying there.

Lane Manning originally graduated from UVM in 2008 with a double-major Bachelor of Arts in physics and applied mathematics. He returned for a PhD in Materials Science, graduating last May. During his grad school days, Lane served as president of the Graduate Student Senate for several years and as a student representative on the Board of Trustees Educational Policy and Institutional Resources Committee. Now he's "Dr. Lane Manning" and is plunging into a career in the burgeoning photonics industry, employed by an England-based manufacturer.

But while Lane is the most recent member of his family to earn a UVM degree, he's by no means the first. In fact, Ardrey Manning counts no fewer than 11 members of her family who have attended UVM, dating all the way back to Lane's great-great-great-grandfather, former Vermont Governor Roswell Farnham.

Lane Manning went to work last year for AVR Optics, which makes optical filters, laser diodes, spatial light modulators and the like for research labs. Photonics is:

the science and technology of generating, controlling, and detecting photons, which are particles of light. [It] underpins technologies of daily life from smartphones to laptops to the Internet to medical instruments to lighting technology. ("What is Photonics")

As AVR ramps up North American operations, Lane will be calling on university and government labs, including NASA and a number of Nobel Prize winners.

If that sounds like the start of a promising career, Lane has a ways to go to match the luster of his gubernatorial ancestor. For starters, Gov. Farnham, a native of Bradford, breezed through his four-year degree program in just two years, graduating in 1849. After UVM, he taught school, practiced law, held many state offices, served with distinction as Lt. Col. of the 12th Vermont Volunteers (in what he called "the war for the suppression of the Rebellion"), and was elected to the state's top office in 1880 by a then-historic margin of 25,012 votes.

Republicans were, of course, a more liberal breed in those days. Looking back, in his 1882 farewell address, Lane's great-great-great-grandfather was proud to note that tax revenues grew by some 35 percent during his tenure and that the State Prison in Windsor now had "better lighted, better warmed and better ventilated buildings." Inmate education, he stressed, was the key to rehabilitation.

The governor was also pleased to report that things looked good for the University's State Agricultural College, thanks to the generous gifts of John P. Howard Esq., who among other things, "provided the means for erecting a statue of Lafayette in the park in front of the college buildings, the cornerstone of which the General laid in 1825."

It's a lot for Lane to live up to. Then again, old Roswell probably didn't even know the difference between a spatial light modulator and a … you know, the other kind of light modulator.


Joseph W Cutts
Ardrey Manning counts 11 members of the Farnham family who have attended UVM. They are: Roswell Farnham Jr., Charles Cyrus Farnham (former Alumni Association President), Edward Hall Farnham, Edward Farnham Osgood, Roswell Farnham, Roswell Farnham II, Char