Former KSU professor, Commencement ceremonies co-chair dies

Alice Darr, age 79 of Kent, passed away Thursday, August 21, 2014, at Robinson Memorial Hospital after a battle with cancer.

Alice Darr, age 79 of Kent, passed away Thursday, August 21, 2014, at Robinson Memorial Hospital after a battle with cancer.

Elizabeth Randolph

Former tenured Kent State professor Alice Darr died Aug. 21 at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna after battling cancer for more than one year.

Darr was 79 and suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She retired from Kent State in 1998 after 30 years as an emeritus professor. In addition to Darr’s work as a professor, she worked as co-chair of the commencement committee for more than 20 years.

Kara Robinson, the other co-chair of the commencement committee, worked closely with Darr to plan commencement ceremonies since 1993. Robinson said she admired Darr’s dedication to Kent State.

“She worked with Kent State years after she retired because she loved this university,” Robinson said. “She was really a role model for university services.”

Robinson said that she suspected Darr’s health was deteriorating when she didn’t attend the commencement ceremonies this year.

“For me, the best part of going to commencement was that Alice would be there. She would always wear a red sweater to the ceremonies that really made her stand out,” Robinson said. “When she stopped going to the ceremonies, nothing felt the same. I don’t think it ever will again.”

Ralph Darr, Darr’s husband, said that in addition to her love of Kent State, she was passionate about cooking.

“We have cookbooks and cooking magazines all over the house,” he said. “She liked to prepare food the most and look at a recipe to see how she could get the fat and sodium content as low as possible and still make it good.”

Ralph said that most people weren’t aware of Darr’s condition because she was never someone who worried others with her problems.

“She never complained about just how sick she was,” Ralph said.  “Even in the end, she would never say anything about how much pain she was in, so a lot of people didn’t know how bad her health was. That’s just how Alice was.”

Nancy Darr, Darr’s daughter, said that her mother’s memory will live on for many generations.

“She has both grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will know that she was a very honest, ethical person,” Nancy said. “She was very upfront and you knew where you stood with her, but she did it in a very tactful way.”

Darr’s funeral service will take place Friday, Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. The service will be held at United Methodist Church on E. Main St. 

Contact Elizabeth Randolph at [email protected].