Presidential Legacy – The Rev. Woodrow I. Goodman, D.D., Lit.D. (1918-2004)

President of Bethel College, 1947-1959

When the doors to Bethel College opened in the fall of 1947, twenty-seven-year-old Woodrow I. Goodman, M.A. (Wheaton College), was the youngest college president in the United States. Under his watch, enrollment grew from 93 to 329 students. One of his priorities was the establishment of a department of education, and he also worked with the United Missionary Church to facilitate a campus development program that reached $1 million by 1959. Construction projects during his tenure included the all-purpose Huffman Administration building, an early Science Hall, the Helm, a gymnasium-auditorium (later named for him), and Shupe Residence Hall.  Goodman was honored for his pioneering leadership by Taylor University (D.D., 1952), Houghton College (Lit.D., 1956), and Wheaton College.  He later accepted the presidency of Marion College (today Indiana Wesleyan University), serving 1960-1976. Goodman was known by Bethel students in the 50’s as “The Working President” since he worked alongside of students in the construction of a number of campus projects.  His memoirs were published in 1992 as Bridge over the Valley.  He was 86 when he died in Upland, California.

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