Darrell Allison, newly sworn in to the UNC Board of Governors on Thursday, wasted no time giving back to the university. He announced a gift of $75,000 for scholarships at his alma mater, N.C. Central University.
The announcement was a surprise to family, friends and university faculty and staff who gathered for the swearing in at NCCU, where Allison has served on the Board of Trustees.
The donation, he said, was in memory of his father, the late Thomas Allison, who never went to college because he had to support his 11 brothers and sisters in the textile town of Kannapolis. He would become a pillar of the community and a surrogate father to many youth. He sent three children to NCCU on full scholarships, including Darrell.
The money will go into an endowment, with proceeds going to support scholarships for students from Cabarrus County, where Thomas Allison years ago set up an annual banquet for students of color who had achieved academic success.
Allison said his father became a big proponent and recruiter of NCCU, which he said would provide a supportive family environment for students. When Darrell Allison was named to the trustee board in 2015, he told the news to his dying father, who said, “Stay faithful. Faithfulness has propelled you, son, to this position of leadership. Faithfulness will continue to be required so that you make the most of it for others.”
Allison, of Morrisville, was elected by the state Senate recently to the UNC system’s governing board. He is the president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, which has advocated for charter schools and a private school voucher program for low-income families known as the Opportunity Scholarships.