Darden Family Charitable Foundation - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • J. Christopher Darden Scholarship for the College of Law | Est. 2001
brick engraved with name Darden Family Charitable Foundation

Darden Family Charitable Foundation

Recipients of the J. Christopher Darden Scholarship for the College of Law would do well to observe and emulate the Darden family’s habit of taking action to create opportunity instead of waiting for it to arrive on its own.

Chris Darden, the TU alumnus for whom the scholarship is named, has remained in firm charge of his own career. After completing a B.A. in Philosophy in 1993, he went on to complete a Juris Doctor degree from the TU College of Law in 1996. Chris was admitted to the Oklahoma State Bar in 1996 and spent four years with the Tulsa law firm of Moyers, Martin, Santee, Imel and Tetrick. But when he realized he wanted to make a more direct difference in the lives of his fellow Tulsans, he shifted gears and joined the Tulsa Police Department, serving in the Motorcycle Unit of the Special Operations Division for more than 10 years.

Recently, Chris changed gears again to become part of his father’s venture – Strat Land Exploration Company. Founded in 1980 by Larry Darden and headquartered in Tulsa, Strat Land operates in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and regions of southern Kansas, and the operation has grown to more than 340 operated wells and approximately 100 non-operated wells. Strat Land currently drills 30-40 gas and oil wells per year, with recent success rates of 90%.

Entrepreneurial drive can be found everywhere, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that Chris’ parents, Doris and Larry Darden, are both native Texans, with the decisive actions to match. Larry’s decision to establish his own venture came after a successful and highly mobile career as a geologist with Amoco – an assignment that took the family to Fort Worth, Houston, Chicago, and New Orleans.

Larry is an alumnus of Texas Tech University, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology. Doris studied chemistry and is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.

Doris and Larry Darden also have made it a priority to create educational opportunities for others. The Darden Family Charitable Foundation, established in 1998, has enabled them to fund scholarships at universities and teaching hospitals including their alma maters, Texas Tech University and Hardin-Simmons University; the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center; and their TU endowed scholarship for highly qualified students in the TU College of Law, which is named for their son: The J. Christopher Darden Scholarship for the College of Law.

The University of Tulsa is grateful to the Darden family for making it a priority to fund scholarships for deserving and talented TU Law students for generations to come.