Following a Philanthropic Path Before Leaving a Legacy

Nancy and Aleck Darr

Nancy and Aleck Darr

For Aleck and Nancy Darr, some of the most meaningful paths in their lives weren’t planned.

Nancy’s neighbor in her hometown of Benicia was pursuing a teaching credential at Sacramento State, and was a major influence on her interest in attending the University. Aleck had a high school teacher who had attended Sac State and the campus was actually Aleck’s third stop in his higher education: first community college, then a degree from University of California, Santa Cruz, and then he decided to pursue a master’s degree in history, and later public administration. 

In 1970, their paths crossed when they met as residents in Jenkins Hall, one of the original campus residences. Nancy’s sister had recently married, and she needed a place to live for her senior year. Aleck was a graduate student working as a teaching assistant for his mentor, history professor Dennis O’Brien. A mutual friend from the residence halls introduced the two during breakfast in the dining commons, and that was the beginning of their lives together.

Aleck and Nancy married in September 1971 and commuted together to their jobs at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. “We took the 58 bus,” recalls Nancy. “That was before the light rail,” adds Aleck.

Nancy says their interest in supporting Sacramento State began with a luncheon. “When we first went to the Estate Planning 101 seminar presented by attorney Mark Drobny, we hadn’t committed our charitable support to anything permanently.”

Nancy received scholarship support from her high school and junior college, and financial assistance during her junior year. She knows the difference that even a little financial help can make. “After attending that seminar, we started making monthly gifts,” she explains.

Today, they support the Sacramento State Alumni Association Life Member Scholarship Fund with monthly donations. They have also established a deferred charitable gift annuity which, when they reach the age of 70, will provide them with a fixed quarterly payment for the rest of their lives.

The Darrs have also become members of the President’s Circle, and enjoy invitations to special Sacramento State activities such as Hornet Football and performing arts events. Their support spreads across many campus programs, including the Friends of the Library and Capital Public Radio.

“Many of the additions to the scholarship came after retirement. As we weren’t making that monthly contribution to retirement savings, we decided to use the money toward the scholarship,” Aleck says.

They have had an opportunity to meet several recipients of their scholarship, as well as the students’ parents. “They’re all different,” the Darrs say fondly of the students. “They have a lot to contribute, and they come from so many different backgrounds.”

“If you have the wherewithal to support a scholarship, you really should,” says Nancy.

“We like to think about it as a legacy that we’re leaving behind to support future generations,” adds Aleck.

To learn more about making a planned gift to Sacramento State, contact Lora L. Hollingsworth at (916) 278-6115 or at For information on additional giving opportunities, visit