Graduate School of Nursing dean and professor emeritus Lillian Goodman, EdD, dies at 94

Pioneer and advocate for advanced practice nursing left mark across Massachusetts public higher education

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

January 29, 2018
  Lillian Goodman speaking at a podium at UMass Medical School.

Lillian Goodman, EdD, speaking at convocation. She joined the GSN in 1991 as interim dean and professor; she was appointed dean in 1995, serving in that role until her retirement in 1999.

The Graduate School of Nursing and the UMass Medical School community mourn the passing of Lillian Goodman, EdD, dean and professor emeritus of the GSN and a pioneer and passionate advocate of advanced practice nursing education in Massachusetts. Dr. Goodman died on Jan. 24 at the age of 94.

Goodman joined the GSN in 1991 as interim dean and professor; she was appointed dean in 1995, serving in that role until her retirement in 1999. Under her leadership, the GSN developed an adult acute/critical care nurse practitioner specialty in the Master of Science in Nursing program, and established a collaborative doctoral program with the UMass Amherst campus.

Goodman came to Worcester in 1973 to found a baccalaureate degree program for registered nurses at the then-Worcester State College, now named the Lillian R. Goodman Department of Nursing at Worcester State University.

Affiliated with UMass since 1969, Goodman served as professor and associate dean and later acting dean of the School of Nursing at the UMass Amherst campus, and played a significant role in the founding of the GSN on the UMass Worcester campus in 1986.

Pioneering program expansions and curriculum developments in response to the dramatic changes taking place in nursing careers and the delivery of health care during the 1990s, Goodman wrote, “The practice of nursing has changed. The advanced practice nurses, teachers and researchers who will guide these changes must be rigorously prepared in nursing programs of high academic quality. Our programs of study are designed to sharpen analytical skills, stimulate scientific inquiry and develop effective practice methods through which compassion and caring will flourish.”

Born the eighth of 13 children in Lebanon, N.H., in 1923, Goodman earned a diploma in nursing from the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing; her Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing from the Boston University School of Nursing; and her doctorate in education from the Boston University School of Education.

She received an honorary doctorate from UMMS in 1991 for her achievements at Worcester State College, and a second one from Worcester State in 1999. Listed in “Who’s Who in American Nursing,” “Who’s Who in American Women,” and “Who’s Who in the East,” for her commitment to her profession, Goodman remained active in community service despite declining health during her retirement.

She is survived by her lifetime companion and colleague Mary K. Alexander, EdD, formerly associate dean and professor at the GSN. Goodman also leaves her brother, Joseph Goodman, and his wife, Patricia of Nashua, N.H.; several nieces, nephews, extended families and many friends and colleagues.

Memorial services will be held at a later date, with arrangements by Mercadante Funeral Home in Worcester. Burial will be in Sharon Memorial Park in Sharon, Mass. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Worcester State Foundation, 486 Chandler Street Worcester, 01602; please note “Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Fund for Nursing Excellence” in memo portion of check. Gifts may also be directed to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation for the Lillian R. Goodman/Mary K. Alexander Fund for Nursing Education and Research, 370 Main Street, suite #650, Worcester, MA 01608.

Goodman’s legacy lives on at UMass Medical School, where at the annual GSN alumni event in 2013 she received a tribute for her 90th birthday. The Lillian Goodman Award, a $1,000 scholarship for a PhD in nursing student, is granted to a PhD student each year, and in 2015 the annual Lillian R. Goodman Lectureship in Graduate Nursing was inaugurated.

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