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Nancy Negri ’70 – Looking Back and Giving Forward

When asked about the differences between O’Dowd when she attended and now, Nancy Negri ’70 laughed and said, “Well the boys used to have one end of the hallway, and the girls had the other. By the time you got far enough into a specific academic track there would be some mixing of students, but my classes freshman and sophomore year were all girls.”

“Even though Title IX was years away from being passed in the late sixties, O’Dowd had women’s athletics programs when many public schools did not. We even had the opportunity to play other teams from Catholic schools throughout the Bay. My education is my number one takeaway from O’Dowd, but my time playing sports here gave me some of my favorite memories.”

Nancy played high school basketball and volleyball, and her experiences playing sports at O’Dowd inspired her to pursue a career in physical education and coaching. Nancy went on to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she played basketball and majored in physical education and minored in math.

Nancy taught for decades, starting with PE and math, and teaching math full time for 22 years. “My time at O’Dowd is special to me because I had so many nun and lay teachers who were role models without me even realizing it. I once had a female student who was surprised to learn that math was a predominantly male field because she had female math instructors her whole time at O’Dowd. Even now, I see that O’Dowd is committed to ensuring all students get access to the highest quality education, and that makes this place so special in my eyes.”

In tribute to O’Dowd’s students and teachers, Nancy included O’Dowd in her estate plans. “I don’t know what I hope to teach the students through my philanthropy. They do so much more for the world than we did in our days. My involvement with O’Dowd helps me learn from them. The best way to learn is by doing, and I see them working with O’Dowd to make the world a better place every day.”


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