President Sharon Hahs, Daniel L. Goodwin and others at the Goodwin dedication

Thursday, January 28, 2016

In recognition of Daniel L. Goodwin’s extraordinary philanthropic support and leadership, Northeastern Illinois University officially dedicated the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education and launched the Goodwin Gift Challenge during a rally on Jan. 26 in Alumni Hall.

“This is an historic day,” Northeastern President Sharon Hahs said. “This is the day we declare a new name for Northeastern’s oldest academic program. And we do this in recognition of an act of philanthropy that changes the future for the College and for our University.”

Goodwin, a former Chicago public school science teacher, is a graduate of Northeastern and holds a number of firsts. He was a member of the first freshman class to attend Northeastern at the St. Louis Avenue campus. He was the first president of the Northeastern student government. He was the first alumnus to be awarded an honorary doctorate by Northeastern. He was the first and only alumnus to serve on the Board of Governors of Illinois State Colleges and Universities. He was the first person to commit to a multimillion-dollar gift to the University. Goodwin was also the first chairman of the Northeastern Board of Trustees. He served as chairman for 10 years from 1996 to 2006. He is now also the first person to have a Northeastern college named in his honor.

“This dedication is more than just an honor for a generous benefactor. It is the establishment of a legacy for an educator,” Northeastern Board of Trustees member Barbara Fumo said. “Daniel Goodwin may have left the classroom, but he never left education.”

Goodwin is Chairman and CEO of The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, a multibillion-dollar real estate and financial organization headquartered on a 13-acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois. With 40 years of experience in real estate investing, development and banking, Inland is one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate and finance groups. Goodwin has formed a number of private and public companies, four of which trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Goodwin was joined by his wife, Carol, who also is an alumna, and eight close college friends from his time as a Northeastern student. He expressed excitement about what his contribution will do for the University and shared some life advice with the students in the audience.

“The most important thing in life is to follow your passion. Don’t pass up the opportunity to follow that passion,” he said. “Remember there is a difference between success and wealth. Wealth may be a byproduct of success, but it should never be the goal.”

The event also marked the launch of the Goodwin Gift Challenge. Goodwin made an initial $1 million grant to the NEIU Foundation in December of 2014. In order to inspire other alumni and friends to continue the forward momentum of philanthropic support, Goodwin has issued this challenge: For the next three years, he will encourage others to contribute to the NEIU Foundation by matching gifts up to a total of $500,000 annually. The challenge will culminate in 2018 with the sesquicentennial celebration of the founding of the University.

Goodwin said his decision to set up his contribution as a challenge was a deliberate choice.

“I want to incite a feeling on the part of alumni that we have entered a new era, a new level of contributions in keeping up with other successful universities,” Goodwin said.

Donors will have an opportunity to identify their gifts, no matter the designation or size within the NEIU Foundation, as counting toward the Goodwin Gift Challenge in the annual race to reach $500,000. Mr. Goodwin’s total commitment of $2.5 million will be distributed three ways:

  • To endow the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education Scholarship Fund to benefit undergraduate and graduate students.
  • To endow the Daniel L. Goodwin Dean’s Program Fund to purchase teaching materials and other resources to enhance student learning, support faculty development, establish graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships, and to enhance the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education’s programs.
  • To establish the Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series Fund to provide expendable support to hire well-respected individuals to deliver instruction in conferences, seminars and major lectures.

Goodwin College Dean Maureen Gillette pointed out that the scholarship fund endowment alone will generate about $30,000 for student scholarships every year.

“Mr. Goodwin is creating a permanent resource for our students,” she said. “Students: Mr. Goodwin is looking you right in the eye and saying, ‘Work hard. Focus on your studies. Be your best self.’ And through this scholarship fund, he will be there for you every step of the way, every year you are at Northeastern.”