Former Joseph C. Laney Technical & Trade Institute building

Joseph C. Laney

Joseph C. Laney


Joseph C. Laney portrait

Joseph C. Laney, President, Board of Education, 1941-1942 (Oakland Public Schools)

Joseph Laney’s ancestry is traced back to territorial settlers In the Salt Lake City region of Utah. From a Mormon upbringing on a farm, Mr. Laney traveled to Arizona and earned a graduate degree from the Arizona State Normal College in June of 1900. Soon thereafter, he pursued an interest in journalism by obtaining employment with the Phoenix Republic.

In 1904 Joseph Laney married Grace Saylor and relocated in Oak­land, California. Five years later Joseph and Grace became the proud par­ents of twin sons, Howard and Clarence.

Mr. Laney’s journalistic work continued in Oakland with assignments on the Alameda Argus, the Oakland Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Oakland Inquirer. In 1909, Perry W. MacDonald and Joseph C. Laney founded the Inter-City Express, a legal publication aimed primarily at the interests of lawyers and building contractors. Within three years they also incorporated a commercial printing department. Both the Inter-City Ex­press and Inter-City Printing continue today under the auspices of MacDo­nald family members.

Joseph Laney’s membership and dedication to groups such as the Masonic Lodge, the Athenian Nile and Kiwanis Clubs exemplified his con­cern for community affairs. This interest eventually led to a July 1938 unanimous Oakland School Board appointment to complete the unexpired term of a former member. He successfully campaigned for a second term and was also re-elected in 1943 and 1947, the latter term as Board Presi­dent

Joseph Laney’s ardent belief in the value of vocational education led to the founding of the Oakland Central Trade School which he considered his most satisfying accomplishment.

Mr. Laney died on August 16, 1948. One month later on September 27, the Oakland Board of Education renamed Central Trade School the Joseph C. Laney Trade and Technical Institute. Laney College, largest of the Peralta Community Colleges, provides a fine liberal arts curriculum as well as vocational studies, and continues to perpetuate the name of the man who contributed so much to Oakland education in the early decades of this century.

Source:  Laney College Catalog, 1983-1985 (


Central Trade School Renamed for Joseph C. Laney

Former Joseph C. Laney Technical & Trade Institute building

Former Joseph C. Laney Technical & Trade Institute at 314 E. 10th Street (Photo courtesy of Oakland History Room, Oakland Public Library)

On September 27, 1948, a little more than one month after the death of Joseph C. Laney, the president of the Oakland Board of Education announced that the Central Trade School would be re-named in his honor.


Newspaper Articles About Joseph C. Laney:

Laney Is Living Legacy Of Oakland Journalist (Laney Tower 3/13/1975)

Laney Named to School Board (Unknown Newspaper 1938)

J.C. Laney, Pioneer Oakland Editor, Dies (Post Enquirer 8/17/48)