Two Legacies, One Institution

For Jack Goodman, MBA, it is nearly impossible to separate his father’s personal and professional legacies, because for Norman “Norm” Goodman, PhD, all roads led to Stony Brook University.

“In every possible way, Stony Brook was at the center of his life,” recalls Jack. “My mom used to joke that the university was like his second wife.”

Norm, a member of the university’s founding generation, began teaching sociology at Stony Brook in 1964, the beginning of a distinguished 57-year career at the university, where his wife, Marilyn, also worked.

The idea of playing a formative role in the university’s development motivated his father, according to Jack, which laid the foundation for his nearly six decades of service as a professor in the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences and a leader in the Arts and Sciences Senate and University Faculty Senate.

“There were three things my father was especially passionate about,” says Jack. “First was my mother; he loved her, admired her intelligence and wanted her contributions to the university to be recognized. The second was teaching. He believed that the primary role of an educator was to educate. And finally, he felt very strongly about good governance, which he viewed as aligning the interests of the university’s administration, faculty and students based on empathy and respect.”

Those priorities were what inspired Norm’s legacy gift and the establishment of four new funds at Stony Brook before his death in June 2022: the Norman “Norm” Goodman Endowed Excellence Award in Sociology and the Norman “Norm” Goodman University Senate Endowment, which reflect his professional passions; and the Marilyn Goodman Endowed Excellence Award and the Marilyn Goodman Commuter Assistant Program, which recognize his wife and the programs she cared so deeply about.

Marilyn, who held a variety of positions at Stony Brook, was most passionate about helping students through the admissions process and then supporting them throughout their academic careers. She helped create what is now called the Office for Commuter Student Services and Off-Campus Living and served as the first adviser to these students.

When Jack thinks about his father’s legacy, he is proud to know that his father and mother’s gifts will continue to help Stony Brook students for as long as the school exists. It’s just another example of how both Norm and Marilyn have made an incredible lasting impact.

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