Bequests--Pat and Bob Gorchov '67
By Bob Gorchov
Class of 1967
I graduated from Haverford in 1967, but it wasn't until 1983 — after acquiring what I thought was some experience of the world — that I enrolled in law school. One of the subjects taught in law school is "Wills, Trusts, and Estates," and I remember the arduous process of trying to learn about bequests, beneficiaries, remainders, and the marital deduction. During my checkered legal career I've drafted a few wills, but not my own; for that, I sought out a specialist in Wills and Estates — someone who knew about Internal Revenue Code provisions and the rights and powers of trustees — and I asked him to include in my will a bequest to Haverford. My assets being somewhat smaller than the extent of my affection for Haverford, he was able to draft a simple, straightforward provision; bequeathing a portion of my assets to the College is one of the best "business" decisions I've made.
I sometimes think that if a large part of my life has been spent in school — elementary school, junior high school, high school, college, graduate school, law school — then the time that I spent at Haverford is a high point, a sunlit mountainous peak overlooking what for the most has been a valley of despondency. Being educated at Haverford encouraged in me a spirit, however tentatively expressed, of inquiry and a willingness to follow paths that aren't necessarily conventional and which may go against the grain of accepted wisdom. After I graduated from Haverford, it didn't take me long to realize what a special place the College is: the tranquility of the campus, the vitality of the faculty, the intelligence of the students, the ideals reflected in the Honor System, the nurturing of a critical intelligence that is, at the same time, able to respond to ideas with informed passion. I think of Haverford as an educational and socio-political oasis, and I realize that its place in the world may be fragile.
Forty two years after my graduation, I have fond memories of the College: my initial interview in 1964 with admissions director Bill Ambler when I was thinking of transferring to Haverford from Dickinson College; remembered images of philosophy professor Paul Desjardins writing Chinese characters on the blackboard when teaching his course, "Philosophy East and West: Confucius and Plato"; the small college bookstore managed by Pat Docherty, the wife of football coach Bill Docherty, and my astonishment and perplexity when I purchased a thick hardback volume of the thought of the philosopher Immanuel Kant and realized that I'd be reading this instead of Sports Illustrated for the next four months; the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg giving a reading in the new field house and kissing English professor John Lester on the cheek; and my sense of accomplishment at graduation in June, 1967, which was mingled with anxiety about the draft and confusion about what to do next. Haverford offered such a unique, rewarding experience that the world beyond its campus seemed daunting.
My intent here, though, isn't just to extol the virtues of a Haverford education or to wax nostalgic about a college that has meant a lot to me, but also to encourage others to contribute to Haverford — by, for example, remembering the College in their estate planning — so that this singular educational and social environment can continue to thrive. In certain ways, being educated at Haverford marked a turning point in my life; by leaving a bequest to Haverford in my will, I feel that I can help enable other young people to experience an educational process that seems particularly valuable in today's world.