After the construction of the Baldor Technology Building in 2000, Roland “Rollie” Boreham Jr. would seek respite in the building named for the company in which he had risen from sales manager to chairman of the board.
The author of “The Three Legged Stool” would sit in his second-floor office and write. At times, he would sit in a wicker rocking chair, contemplatively swaying forward and back.
“He said it seemed to help him write better,” said Argie Nichols, computer graphic technology department head.
The rocking chair stilled when Boreham died in early 2006 and the university locked his office. A year later, in need of space, university officials planned to move his furniture to storage. Nichols, who was moving into a storage room converted into an office, said she would use the furniture, including the rocking chair.
In the years since, Nichols has rocked a baby as her mother attended classes. She’s listened as students rocked and unburdened their hearts of family illnesses and the possibility of dropping out of school. In May, faculty and staff members sought comfort in the rocking chair as they mourned the death of Lynn Lisk, head of the paralegal department.
“There seems to be a common sense of peace,” Nichols said. “Mr. Boreham didn’t have a clue what he was leaving. To him, it was a chair, but we’re still rocking.”
In addition to personally supporting the Baldor building with a $1 million gift, the library bears Boreham’s name thanks to another $1 million endowed gift that enables the library to buy books and equipment. Nichols said Boreham’s gifts, including a rocker, have left a lasting legacy at the university.
“I’m sure he never had a thought in his mind that the chair would continue on,” Nichols said.