Endowed Fund to Honor Beloved Educator

During his fifty years teaching at Wheaton College, Jay Goodman, Professor of Political Science, inspired countless students to become more engaged in civic life and to enter careers in politics, law, and academia. He and his wife Gail Berson, dean of admission emerita, were campus fixtures at guest lectures, performing arts events, and Wheaton Lyons home games. 

Now, alumni and friends are joining together to establish the Jay Goodman Endowed Fund for the Social Sciences. With a goal of raising $100,000, the endowed fund will provide support involving or benefiting Wheaton students (sophomore experiences, LEAPS, internships for credit, travel, books, research assistance, and more). This effort is part of the College’s new Giving Circles initiative—a group philanthropy effort that pools donations for greater impact.

“Jay Goodman was a large part of the reason I decided to major in Government,” says Candy Sanford ’70. “The courses I took with him were stimulating and opened a new area of interest for me. Because of Jay’s involvement in Rhode Island politics, his students were able to work as volunteers in the 1968 election as part of the course on political parties.”

“In his fifty years at Wheaton, Jay made significant contributions to the community and to his students. He had a special knack of leading students to learn something from the inside out—challenging them to see themselves as practitioners in the political frameworks they were studying. He believed that our alums were the most important way we could measure our success as teachers.” 

Darlene Boroviak, Professor of Political Science, Emerita

The idea to endow a fund for Jay Goodman began when a group of government majors were chatting at the Class of 1970’s 50th reunion. “Jay had been our guest at the class dinner a number of times, and we were sad that he was no longer going to be with us,” Candy says. “We wanted to create a fund at Wheaton in his memory. My husband, Tom and I decided that we would like to make a leadership gift to this fund.”

Professor Goodman brought his passion for politics to the classroom. He was a caring and influential mentor who guided students in their career aspirations and helped them pursue prestigious national awards. In Wheaton’s Oral History Project (2021), Professor Goodman’s influence was noted in the “Inspiring Faculty” chapter by more than thirty alums, from the Class of 1961 through the Class of 2013, and every decade in between.

“I’m sure many of his students share good memories of Jay Goodman,” says Candy. “I hope that this fund will spark interest in subsequent classes who took courses with Professor Goodman and that they will make gifts to honor his memory.”

Everyone in the Wheaton community is invited to contribute to the Jay Goodman Endowed Fund for the Social Sciences by joining the Giving Circle.