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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey /
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

City College library renamed in honor of Joan Didion following $500,000 donation
Graphic created by Neezy Jeffery / [email protected]

The Los Rios Community College Board of Trustees approved a $500,000 joint donation to City College on Oct. 18 from the family of late world-renowned author Joan Didion and the Sacramento Historical Society, according to a City College press release. 

The library, currently known as the Learning Resource Center, will be renamed the Joan Didion Learning Resource Center honoring Didion. City College’s President Albert Garcia described the donation and renaming of the center in Didion’s name as “a great honor.” 

Didion, born in 1934, was a Sacramento native and briefly attended City College in the 1950s. During her career, she received several honors for her work including the National Book Award for her book “The Year Of Magical Thinking”, per the press release. In 1981, she was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a prestigious honor society composed of leading figures in literature, architecture and the arts, according to the website.

According to the press release, this donation will support faculty research and fund writing scholarships. The release also states it is the family’s hope, according to Didion’s niece Kelly Didion Peters, that the Joan Didion Learning Resource Center will continue to further the writer’s legacy and benefit future generations with this funding. Didion passed away at the age of 87 in December 2021, and in honor of her legacy, the Sacramento Historical Society (SHS) established the Joan Didion Scholarship for Writers in 2022, which awarded winners an amount of $40,000. 

Didion’s family later contributed to the scholarship by donating to SHS, with funds made from the auctioning of Didion’s personal effects, and requested that a portion of it go to the scholarship and other City College programs.

“We are grateful for the partnership with Sacramento City College and elated to see the Joan Didion Learning Resource Center come to fruition,” SHS President Walt White said.

“Attending SCC was important to Joan,” Didion’s niece Kelly Didion Peters said. “ and we believe she would have been thrilled to support the scholarship for promising young writers who may not otherwise have the opportunity to be recognized.”

The joint donation of $500,000 from the SHS and the Didion family comprises $40,000 from the Joan Didion scholarship and an augmenting of the SHS-SCC partnership of $460,000. This total gift of $500,000 will create the Endowment to Honor the Legacy of Joan Didion at City College, and will benefit the creation of academic programs and events honoring Didion’s legacy, according to the press release.

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