An alum’s pledge, good as (blue and) gold

The following letter, handwritten, arrived at UC Berkeley this week from Floyd Moreland, an alumnus who lost nearly everything — though clearly not his generosity or love for his alma mater — in Hurricane Sandy. We’re posting the text here, with the author’s permission, as an example of the true spirit of giving.

13 December 2012

Berkeley Foundation
University of California
Berkeley, CA

Several months ago, I received a phone call from a Berkeley student asking that I continue my support of the Berkeley Foundation. I pledged my annual modest amount of $300 (I believe), but I said I would not send it until after the first of the year, since I had already sent my contribution earlier this year. She sent me a pledge card and a very lovely note.

In the meantime, my life has been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. My home is gone, all my library is gone, everything from my past is destroyed. And so are all my records. But my memory of the call from that Berkeley student remains in my mind, and I have no intent on breaking my pledge to her on behalf of the university that bestowed on me the Ph.D. degree and made possible my career in teaching.

So enclosed with this missive is my $300 contribution, earmarked for undergraduate Classics initiatives. Even as I have lost everything, my commitment to the values and the opportunities that I received at Berkeley remains, and certainly my commitment to my promise to that student (whose name I can’t remember — it was on my desk that was destroyed by the hurricane) persists. If your records permit you to retrieve that name, please tell her that I did, indeed, follow through on my promise to her.

Berkeley remains in my will, even as what I got from it made possible my career as professor, dean, and vice president of a major university.

I’m not a rich man, and Hurricane Sandy made me a rather poor man, but the values instilled in me by the University of California at Berkeley made me powerful in terms of what I could contribute to society, and I hope I have done that with respect to the thousands of students I have taught and whatever positive examples I have shared with others.

With sincerity and gratitude,
Floyd L. Moreland
Ph.D. (Classics) 1971