An Investment for Posterity

Featuring Aleck and Nancy Darr.

June 01, 2019

Aleck and Nancy Darr have been involved with Dickens Universe for over twenty years. Aleck is a retired health research analyst who studied at UC Santa Cruz in Stevenson College and Nancy is a retired programmer and analyst who studied literature at Sacramento State. It was their mutual interest in Dickens that brought them to Dickens Universe for the first time in 1997. Whereas Aleck particularly enjoys the historicism of Dickens’ novels—as he was a history major at UCSC—both partners enjoy his characters and vivid descriptions. “His observations and humor are timeless.”

In retirement, Nancy is active in Zonta International. Aleck, on the other hand, “spends too much time attempting to finish the New York Times Crossword.” They both support the Friends of the Library, Stevenson Writing Project, and Stevenson Core course in addition to the Friends of the Dickens Project. The Darrs continue to return to Dickens Universe each year for the “immersion in scholarly debates and exposure to differing points of view. It is always a pleasure to return to the UCSC campus. The atmosphere of beautiful redwoods and pathways are always enjoyable. In addition, we have met many interesting people from all over the world. We consider some of the people we have met as friends and look forward to seeing them year after year.”

Both UC Santa Cruz—including the Dickens Universe—and Sacramento State benefit from the Darrs’ generosity. “When we retired, we were used to putting money into our 401k funds,” said Nancy, “Because we don’t have any children, we agreed that the best way for us to continue to invest in the future would be to support the two universities that gave us our own futures.”

Aleck and Nancy believe that the Universe is a worthwhile project and enjoy the intellectual stimulation it fosters. They feel that a well-rounded liberal arts education is more necessary now than ever, as there exists an emphasis on STEM in the university system that seems to be lacking in the humanities.