Remembering George Borts

September 4th, 2014

I had two different meetings with Professor Borts my senior year, both after searching for final semester grades posted on the door to his office. (“What a Professor Should Be,” Farewell, Obituaries, July/August). My first semester, I found my ID number listed right below the red “cutoff line” between A’s and B’s. Knowing the professor was a soccer supporter, I knocked on the door and was invited in. I explained: “We had an extended soccer travel schedule this year (including a trip to the Final Four) and I had legit reasons for missing a lot of class time. Would you consider bending the curve a bit?”

He answered, “No,” and it was clear this was his considered response, and that the interview was over. I thanked him for taking time from his day to see me.

Second semester I needed to pass his course to graduate and was a bit nervous as I started to search for my ID number. The door opened from the inside. He grabbed me by the shirt and exclaimed, “Ah, Martin! I have been wanting to see you!” He walked behind his desk, fished out my little blue exam book, and threw it at me, hitting me in the chest. “This is bullshit!” he stated, and as I noticed a B+ on the cover he continued, “But it’s good bullshit.” Rest in peace, Professor Borts.

Ray Martin ’78
Ridgefield, Conn.


Professor Borts was my faculty adviser when I was a freshman. He suggested that maybe medicine would be a good fit, and I ignored the suggestion. Later, I took a course on the New England economy from him and pretty much ignored what I learned there also.

He deserved to have a great career, and he did. I remember him as a friendly and approachable professor.

George Chapman ’56
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I loved Professor Borts, one of my favorite Brown teachers. He really challenged us hard in class. He forced us to think instead of memorize.

Sangeeth Peruri ’97
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Professor Borts was one of the wonderful teachers who make Brown such a great institution. His wit and intellectual rigor helped instill in many students (myself included) a love and deeper understanding of economics. He will be sorely missed.

Bernie Markstein ’73
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September/October 2014