Their love for their alma mater runs skin deep


For Daryl Groff ’83 and his daughter, Sara ’09, wearing a Goshen College T-shirt, scarf or hat isn’t enough to show how much they love their alma mater. Their love for Goshen runs skin deep — literally. Daryl and Sara both have GC tattoos.

This wasn’t a rash decision. Daryl, who lives in East Earl, Pa., said he considered it for a while. “I thought about it for probably 20 years, and one cold winter afternoon, I thought, ‘The time is now,’ so I decided to go for it.” That was in the winter of ’08.

Daryl said he always had a sense of how important his years at GC were in forming his beliefs and making lasting relationships. “I’m proud to be a GC grad and it wasn’t until age 40 that I realized it,” he said. Every year he still meets with college friends, who are dispersed across the country, decades later.

So he took a Development Office letter he got in the mail from GC, with the purple “Culture for Service” lamp and book seal, to a tattoo shop in downtown New Holland, Pa. He got the purple GC seal tattooed on his lower left calf, and described the process as “one and a half hours of feeling like someone was giving me a pinch.”

Since getting inked, Daryl has received a lot of attention from people who notice his tattoo. “Most people over 40 have to touch it and ask ‘Is that real?’” He uses it as a conversation-starter to tell people about Goshen and what it means to him.

Sara, who works in Washington, D.C., as a nurse, said her tattoo was inspired by the new GC “peace by peace” logo. Last summer, while home with her sisters, Hannah ’10 and Bekah, a sophomore, they all decided to all get tattoos. Sara said she wanted the tattoo to represent her core beliefs, including peace, so she settled on an olive branch design she found in another GC mailing.

Even though it’s a small tattoo on her wrist, she’s been surprised by how many people ask her about it. And when they do, she talks to them about peace, pacifism and Goshen College. “I learned a lot about myself during my time at GC, and it was during this time that I developed even further my peace beliefs,” she said.