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(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Nov. 5, 2007) — Cal State Northridge senior Corinne McClane was a good student and the type of person who was there when her sorority sisters needed a friend. She always had a word of support for her clients at the gym where she worked. And she was never too busy to take her mother's long-distance calls, even when the topic was something as trivial as choosing the right pair of jeans.
"She was just a good person overall," said her mother, Virginia McClane of Los Gatos. "You'd like to think that about your children—that they're good people—but you never really know until other people tell you. After she died, people just came from everywhere to tell us how much they appreciated her."
Corinne McClane was killed at age 22 last year by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Wilshire Boulevard in a marked crosswalk in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles. In her memory, Virginia McClane, her husband, Les, and son, Keith, have established a $25,000 endowment at the university. The money will be used for scholarships for members of Corinne's sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.
McClane said her daughter didn't have to work while she attended CSUN. Her job at the gym, Curves, was just for extra spending money.
"Corinne was very aware of how lucky she was. She would talk about some of her sorority sisters having to work part-time jobs to support their education and sorority fees," McClane said. "Hopefully, this scholarship will give a boost to some deserving young lady and ease her struggle a little."
CSUN Vice President for Student Affairs Terry Piper called the endowment "a wonderful way to honor Corinne as well as the values of the sorority to which she was so dedicated. Corinne served as treasurer, secretary and 2006 president of Kappa Kappa Gamma."
"Kappa Kappa Gamma emphasizes academic excellence, philanthropy and community service—the values Corinne lived by," Piper said. "The Corinne McClane-Kappa Kappa Gamma scholarships will promote strong commitment to the sorority's values of it members."
McClane said soliciting donations for the scholarship endowment has been a way to channel her energies since her daughter's death in March 2006.
"It's really kept me busy for the past few months," said McClane, a member of Compassionate Friends, a support group for people whose children have died. "I did nearly everything myself. The only thing was that while I was printing the donation cards, I had to keep them face down because I'm just not ready to look at my daughter's picture just yet."
"I'm not in denial about her death, more like avoidance," she said with a rueful laugh, adding that her house is still full of pictures of Corinne, only as a child, not an adult. "Current pictures are just too hard for me right now. I don't want to be reminded that my daughter's not with me."
Virginia McClane said Corinne, a kinesiology major, knew while she was in high school that she wanted to do something in sports medicine, possibly becoming a credentialed personal trainer or a physical therapist.
"She was very lucky that way. She had high standards and knew what she wanted to do. She was talking about going to graduate school for physical therapy before she died," McClane said.
Corinne had already finished her kinesiology degree requirements at the time of her death. Kinesiology chair Carole Oglesby personally delivered Corinne's diploma to her family in time for her memorial service. "We buried the diploma with Corinne. That degree would have meant so much to her," McClane said.
Corinne was close to her family. McClane said her daughter thought nothing of driving to the San Jose area for a visit home on the occasional weekend or during the holidays. Corinne has just been home for a visit and was planning another visit at the time of her death.
"I was really beginning to enjoy my daughter as an adult," McClane said. Corinne would often give her advice about make-up or fashion. "Sometimes I'd be in a department store and just call her for advice on something I was considering buying, like a pair of jeans," she said. "I always seemed to catch her while she was in a restaurant with her friends. But she didn't mind"."
"Who would have thought that something this drastic would happen to your daughter? It's not something you worry about when she's only 22," McClane said.
The first scholarship in Corinne McClane's name is scheduled to be awarded in spring 2008.
For more information about the Corinne McClane endowment or on how to contribute to it, contact Jerry De Felice, development director for Cal State Northridge's Division of Student Affairs at (818) 677-3935 or via e-mail at email@example.com.