Leonard and Deloris Pourchot
With 90 years of life experience to call upon, retired professor of education Leonard Pourchot, Ed.D., has a gift for telling a great story. Leonard laughs as he remembers his first job offer. "I told them I wanted to make $3,000 a year, which was the top teaching rate in 1948. They asked if I was willing to do some contest work in speech. I said ‘yes.' They asked if I would direct a couple of plays. I said ‘yes.' Then they asked if I would drive the bus. I said ‘no,' but they gave me the job anyway," he chuckles.
A few years ago, Leonard said yes to another great opportunity when he established a charitable gift annuity with NIU. His gift annuity provides him with fixed payments of 8.9 percent for life and ultimately benefits the university. "NIU provided me a lot of opportunities," Leonard says, "I was able to travel abroad, do research, and meet some wonderful, resourceful people. I wanted to do something in gratitude for what I received."
Leonard taught at NIU from 1962 to 1982 in the College of Education and his influence is still visible today. In 1973, he and several colleagues tossed around the idea of a secondary education journal that they hoped would provide an outlet for professors to write about important issues such as gender bias, causes of adolescent misconduct, and development of creativity. Leonard wrote in the first edition, "It is hoped that Thresholds will stimulate thinking, influence educational practices, and inform."
RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS
Recently Leonard and his wife, Deloris (M.A. '67 secondary education, Ed.D. '81 adult education), moved back near their childhood homes in central Illinois from Virginia. Closer to NIU, they are now able to take part in events at the university. Last fall they attended an NIU football game. "We had a wonderful time and saw some old friends," he says. "The campus looks great!"
Leonard says in jest that he has retired three times, though he still helps out at the family tree farm in Wisconsin. "We get together with our children and their families twice a year," he says. "There's usually a good card game when we're all together."
For now they have both adopted the adage, "You don't know about tomorrow, so live for today." The generous couple has applied that motto to their personal lives and in their decision to provide for future generations of students at NIU.