Lanny was initiated into the Illinois Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Brother Martin went on to obtain his law degree from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. In 2006, Lanny founded Platte River Equity, a private equity firm. In 2012, he was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame and in 2017, he was elected Chair of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees. Lanny also serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards in addition to his roles at Platte River Equity and Northwestern.
Lanny and his wife, Sharon, have been longtime patrons of the arts and higher education, making several substantial gifts to support various art museums, opera houses and higher education projects. Their philanthropy has had a tremendous impact both inside and outside of Colorado. In 2013, Lanny and Sharon made a leadership gift to Northwestern for the construction of an athletic complex that quickly become one of the most envied student athlete facilities in college athletics.