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University of the Pacific basketball fan leaves $2.6 million for scholarships

Matching funds will grow impact of gift to $3.9 million
Sep 29, 2016

A $2.6 million gift from the trust of a devoted Tiger basketball enthusiast will fund three scholarships for University of the Pacific student-athletes for generations to come, university officials announced today.  

This is by far the largest single gift dedicated to scholarships for Pacific student-athletes.

The late Helen Harney Crittenden, a descendant of a pioneer family and long-time Stockton resident, enjoyed watching Pacific men's basketball from half court with her sister, Marge Poggio, and other friends. While she was not a Pacific alumna, she wore the Pacific colors of orange and black with great pride and enthusiasm and wanted to establish a scholarship for worthy and deserving students in Pacific's men's basketball program.

Crittenden died in March at age 98 leaving two nieces, a grandnephew and a stepdaughter.

"This incredibly generous gift will help our student-athletes excel both in the classroom and on the court," said Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck. "I am delighted that watching our Tigers play gave Mrs. Crittenden such joy. In turn, her legacy will help them achieve their dreams in basketball and in life." 

Crittenden's gift will be matched using Powell Match funds, growing the impact of the gift to about $3.9 million. The Powell Match is part of the Powell Fund created by a $125 million gift to the university from the estate of the late Robert C. and Jeannette Powell, both former regents of the university. The fund matches new endowment gifts for scholarships and academic programs. The Powell Fund also supports the Powell Scholars Program, the premier academic merit program at University of the Pacific that includes academically talented students in various majors and who value leadership, scholarship, creativity and service.

A Lodi native, Crittenden moved to Stockton in 1934.  Her career spanned four decades and included posts at Sears Roebuck & Co., the California Furniture Co., the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office, and the Stockton Unified School District. She volunteered for several nonprofits and professional associations including the Haggin Museum and the National Association of Legal Secretaries, which elected her national president in 1970.  Her theme for her year of presidency was "Professionalism + Education = Excellence." She was also a member of the Pacific Athletic Foundation.

Her love for Pacific and men's basketball stemmed from the undergraduate experience of her late husband, Bradford M. Crittenden, who graduated from College of the Pacific and later was the San Joaquin County district attorney, a California Highway Patrol commissioner and director of the U.S. Department of Transportation Highway Safety Program. He served on the Stockton Alumni Association Board and in 1980 received the Alumni Association Professional Service Award. He died in January 1982.

Media contacts: Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) |

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