Retired Sociology Professors Fund Fellowships to Empower Current and Future Students

Bill Darrough and Eleni Pitsiou-Darrough with their dogBill Darrough and Eleni Pitsiou-Darrough loved their 33-year careers as sociology professors at Cal State LA. After retiring in 2007, they wanted to continue to have an impact, so they established a scholarship for sociology students.

Bill and Eleni are especially proud of Cal State LA’s recognition as the No. 1 college in the nation for upward mobility—propelling a higher percentage of students from the bottom fifth of income into the top fifth than any other U.S. college or university. Cal State LA has long viewed itself as an engine of social mobility because of its success in educating its diverse students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

“We got to know a lot of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” Bill says. “This type of upward mobility makes a huge difference for them.”

Bill and Eleni benefited from scholarships when they were headed to college themselves, so they know the type of positive impact scholarships can make.

“When Eleni came to the U.S. from Greece, the country was under a dictatorship that wouldn’t allow money to leave the country, so her parents couldn’t send her money,” Bill says. “She wouldn’t have been able to go to college without scholarships. For me, receiving fellowships showed that somebody believed in me. That helped motivate me to pursue an academic career.”

The fellowship established by Bill and Eleni is named in part for their late beagle, Athena, who was a frequent, popular visitor to campus. The couple plans to establish a second fellowship named for both Eleni and their current dog, Eirene.

“We’ll continue to fund both scholarships through our estate, increasing the amount over time to stay meaningful in the future economy,” Bill says. “Our son and his family are doing really well, so we feel lucky that we don’t have to worry about them and can focus on helping other people.”

“As professors, Bill and Eleni helped many students,” says Robert Avalos, Vice President of University Advancement. “Through their fellowships, they still impact students today and will continue to do so far into the future.”

Generous benefactors like Bill and Eleni make dreams a reality for Cal State LA students. To learn how you can make an impact, contact the Office of Planned Giving at (323) 343-3060 or robert.avalos@calstatela.edu.

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