Kindred Spirits

A College and Law School alumna met her matches at UChicago.

At age 14, Barbra Goering, AB’74, JD’77, couldn’t wait to get out of her suburban Washington, DC, high school. “I started studying college catalogs at the public library, and when I read the University of Chicago’s, I knew I’d found my place. Of course, I had to wait until I was a senior to apply.” She discovered that her father had started his graduate school education in human development at UChicago before moving to Maryland. He was “very enthusiastic” about her application, she recalls.

Forty-plus years after her University education, Goering, senior vice president at Miami Corporation, a private investment company, recognizes that the University has defined her adult life—as an individual, as a professional, as a parent. The institution, she says, “is really the major influence for me and my husband“—Jim Murray, MBA’74. Married at Bond Chapel and remaining in Hyde Park long after graduating, they watched their two daughters attend the Lab Schools from kindergarten through high school. While Goering and Murray now live in the Loop, their older daughter and husband live in Hyde Park with their young daughter. Goering served for several years on the College Visiting Committee and is the Class of 1974 correspondent for the alumni magazine.

Goering already makes annual gifts to the University, but she wanted to do something more substantial for the College, where she studied history and “found myself intellectually,” she says. “It just opened so many doors in my mind. I remember every class as a source of energy. The more I read, the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.” She recalls professors Sidney Hyman, AB’36, AM’38, Meyer Isenberg, AB’35, PhD’40, and Emile Karafiol, JD’79, her bachelor’s essay adviser, as major influences.

Impressed with recent College initiatives such as the Jeff Metcalf Internships, Odyssey Scholarships, and undergraduate opportunities at the Logan Arts Center, she says, “the College just gets better and better, and I wanted to be part of that.” So she named the College as a beneficiary of her IRA. “My wealth is principally my retirement assets, so that’s where I thought it would make sense to designate the College as a beneficiary.”

Beyond the intellectual stimulation she found at the College, Goering also believes it opened up her life socially. As a College senior, she followed a tip from friends and studied in the Regenstein’s A level, with the business and economics students. It worked: that’s where she met Murray. “I know the College has a longtime reputation as a place that isn’t fun. But I found so many kindred spirits there—I was finally with ‘my kind.’” She saw a similar experience in recent students while on the College Visiting Committee. “The students were so accomplished, so eager, so very ready to be launched. I wanted to be sure others had the wonderful experience I did.”

She sees her IRA gift as a way to benefit the University long term while setting an example of generosity for her family. It delivers funds after her death without getting taxed because the University is a nonprofit. Goering, who has a background in estate planning, encourages others to use the University’s Office of Gift Planning as a resource. She’s proud to give to UChicago. “The University is deeply ingrained in our lives and, in a wild world of half-truths and spin, it stands for the spirit of true inquiry and intellectual integrity.”

TIP: Review your IRA beneficiary designations regularly.

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