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Xavier Magazine | July 22, 2017

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The Gift of Science

Robert Borcer understood what it meant to fulfill a dream. Borcer, who died in July at age 90, delayed his own dream of being a teacher until an age when most are looking toward retirement. He fulfilled that dream, though, and now, through a $2.5 million bequest to the University, he is helping ensure that others reach their dreams as well.

Borcer wanted to go into education after graduating from Maryville College in Tennessee in 1936, but the reality of low teacher salaries caused him to detour into business. He got in on the ground floor of the television boom as a partner in a repair shop known as Always Call Charlie, but old dreams die hard, and in the 1960s he came to the University and earned a master’s degree in English. He taught English at two area Catholic high schools and history at a third before retiring in the 1970s.

“He loved to teach,” says Mark Kalb, a close friend. “He was always trying to educate people. If somebody used an English phrase incorrectly, he would correct them.”

Borcer’s gift reflects a longtime affection for Xavier—he was a regular contributor to the annual fund—and also honors the wishes of his mother, Theresa, from whom he inherited much of his estate. But his choice of earmarking the gift to the sciences stems from discussions with Kalb, a self-described “science nut.” Administrators are examining best uses of the bequest in accordance with ongoing strategic planning and program reviews.

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