Supporters Like You

Read about supporters who are creating memorable experiences and life-changing opportunities for Pacific students.

Janet Delavan

You might say Pacific and Janet Delavan’s legacy were destined to intertwine. After all, she is the granddaughter of Lorenzo Fellers, a Methodist minister who graduated from the class of 1882 and the daughter of the late Ted and Alice Baun who graduated from Pacific in 1927. Her father Ted, who owned a successful construction company in Clovis, CA, also served on Pacific’s Board of Regents from 1950 – 1994 and is well known for his long-term contributions to the university, particularly to the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Janet’s older brothers, Walter ’53 and James ’54, also attended Pacific.

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When Janet was growing up, it wasn’t uncommon for the family to drive to Pacific for sporting events or stop by the President’s house to visit her father’s good friend and then University President, Robert Burns ’31. “Pacific became a home away from home. I remember when I was in high school my dad would drive us up to Stockton from our home in Fresno to watch football games and see Eddie LeBaron play,” said Delavan. “I thought, ‘Gee, how neat is this place?’ I loved everything about it.”

It’s no surprise that when it was time to go to college, Janet chose to attend Pacific as a physical education major, following in her mother’s footsteps of becoming a P.E. teacher.

While sitting in a kinesiology class, Janet met a handsome student, and her future husband, Darrell “Burt” Delavan. Burt was also studying to be a P.E. teacher. “He would doodle in my notebook during class,” said Delavan. “We would meet in the library to study and before long his friends started calling me ‘Burt’s girl.’” 

After graduation, Burt played professional football for several years and they both enjoyed careers as educators in the Sacramento area. They had three children who all attended Pacific.  Their daughter, Brenda Ward, is a non-graduating alumna from COP, Class of ’79.  Their son, Barry Delavan, earned a BA in Liberal Studies from College of the Pacific in 1981 and daughter, Beryl Delavan, earned a BS in Business Administration from the Eberhardt School of Business in 1983.  

While Janet inherited a love of Pacific from her parents, she also inherited a savvy business acumen and strong philanthropic values.

“My parents loved Pacific and gave to Pacific,” said Delavan. “So we decided to do the same.” Over the years, she and Burt supported the establishment of the John T. Chambers Technology Center, the Janssen-Lagorio Gymnasium, the Baun Fitness Center and contributed greatly to the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports Science – to name a few.

When the time came to think about legacy planning, the couple worked with the university to establish a retained life estate for their home. “My parents gave their house to Pacific,” said Delavan. “Our children have all moved away and I didn’t want them to worry about the house, so Pacific was the natural choice.” 

Though Burt passed away in 2013, their agreement continues to provide for Janet to stay in the house that he originally built for them, and will help future generations of students receive an education at the university they are so fond of. 

Ross & Sandra Overby

When he was a student at Pacific, Ross Overby was consumed with geology. And that’s in large part because of three professors in the geology department he deeply admired — Stanley Volbrecht, Gene Pearson, and Curtis Kramer. They were his foundation at Pacific.

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“They taught me to have a life-long passion for learning,” Ross says. “The three of them created a community within the department.” It’s the community at Pacific that always impressed Ross. He valued it, especially when he happened to meet Thomas “Ted” Kanaya-Adams, the director of the Anderson Y, and Ted’s wife, Junko. “Ted and Junko,” Ross says, “gave me acceptance, friendship, and family during my school years.”

To express his gratitude for his experience at Pacific, Ross and his wife, Sandra, have set up a generous gift that will support two endowed scholarships. One is in honor of Ross’ geology professors, and the other is in honor of Ted and Junko Kanaya-Adams. Both will change the lives of Pacific students for years to come.

“They taught me to have a life-long passion for learning.”

— Ross Overby

Connor & Ria Sutton

Making a profound impact on the university that had a profound influence: A Message from Connor Sutton.

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Both I, (class of 1961), my wife Ria, (class of 1964), and our two children, Allison, (class of 1980) and Matt, (class of 1984), are Pacific alumni. In addition, I was on the faculty in Stockton from 1963 to 1999. Ria and I agreed that since we are able at this time to give back, we should.

The next step was to decide how best to accomplish this goal. We first consulted the University of the Pacific Office of Estate and Gift Planning. The Powell Match was attractive, in that it effectively doubled our gift. The second step was to consult with our financial advisor. He advised us that one of the best ways to donate was through giving from our IRA accounts through the Qualified Charitable Distribution method

Giving from the IRA allowed us to give an asset that, had it been inherited by my children, they would have had to pay taxes on the distribution of the income at their highest tax bracket while they are in their highest income producing years. Instead, we were able to give the highly taxable asset without paying any taxes on it. Overall, we think giving from our IRA through the Qualified Charitable Distribution method was one of the smartest ways we could give to the University.

“Giving from our IRA through the Qualified Charitable Distribution method was one of the smartest ways we could give to the University.”

— Connor Sutton

Della Richardson

She was raised in a family of migrant farmworkers, but Della Richardson was focused on endless possibilities for herself — and she pursued them.

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Della first attended San Joaquin Delta College part time to earn her associate’s degree in accounting, and then she came to Pacific. Taking classes during the day, she worked two jobs in addition to completing two internships.

Della graduated with her bachelor’s degree and got a great job as an Education Coordinator. Then she returned to Pacific, this time as an employee. She was our Adult Re-Entry Student Coordinator before she retired. And today, she’s a lifelong student, a donor and a volunteer. Della’s profound sense of gratitude for the opportunities she’s been given is no more evident than in her service and generosity to Pacific.

That’s why she’s made a legacy gift for the University that will support undergraduate student scholarships and benefit adult re-entry students for years to come. This is Della’s legacy, and it grew out of her ongoing love for Pacific, our students, and our future.

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