A warm smile, firm hand shake, and great conversation is what you receive when you walk into Tower Hall room 2107 at The College of St. Scholastica. Sitting down at the mahogany round table overlooking the courtyard between the Science Center and Tower Hall, you are overcome with a calming presence produced from a very powerful man.
President Larry Goodwin is no stranger to the Duluth area, having spent vacation time up here since the 1980s, while working as the acting Associate Academic Dean at The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. On one trip to Duluth in the fall of 1986, Goodwin remembers coming up College Street and seeing this majestic building tucked quietly away on a hill. He remembers saying to himself, "if I were to ever live up here, that is where I am going to work." The following spring, Goodwin interviewed and was offered the position of Dean of Faculty.
Goodwin enjoyed his tenure at The College of St. Catherine, but truly enjoys the atmosphere of Duluth much more than the life in St. Paul. "The Twin Cities is one giant traffic jam. Duluth is the intersection of nature and culture," Goodwin said. "Here you are on the edge of Lake Superior, the Superior National Forest, and you just don't get that same balance in larger metro areas."
Talking to Dr. Goodwin, I was able to get a great sense of his ambitions and goals for the college, both past projects and future endeavors. "During my tenure as President [which will be 12 years this coming February], one of the most important accomplishments in my eyes was increasing the on-campus population; which allowed CSS to be more diverse and financially stable," Goodwin said. During that period, he said that students living on-campus rose from 700 to over 1000 students, and currently CSS has more than 115 international students on-campus.
Regardless of past accomplishments, Goodwin is looking towards future expansions that will benefit the people on this campus. "The expansion of the Science Center is the College's top priority, as we are a well-known institution for health science majors, as especially our nursing program," Goodwin said.
He also talked about a redesign for a student center, but since the funding is not there nor are any designs, the location, size; other pertinent factors were not discussed. "I am no architect," Goodwin said with a smile, "but if I had my way the student center would be built where Groves Apartments currently reside; including a student union, support services, and hopefully housing on the top portion of the building."
One of the most difficult parts of running and maintaining a campus is the staff involved. Dr. Goodwin oversees the president's staff, which consists of himself and the other vice presidents of several offices. He described the position of president as similar to being the conductor of an orchestra. "This is a great job it really is," Goodwin said. "You surround yourself with people that know more about something than you do, and then it is your job to lead the orchestra. No two days on this campus are the same, so it is nice to have the support of a staff that really knows what they are doing, and do it well."
Goodwin talked about the staff and students on this campus as part of an extended family, and when someone on the campus has a type of loss, it affects him directly. "When someone suffers a loss, that is the most difficult part of my day," Goodwin said. "This institution has over 500 employees, 3,700 students, and when something negative impacts our college, there can be a lot of people in pain, and that can make for a rather hard day."
The College of St. Scholastica has a rich Benedictine heritage interweaved into the curriculum, the campus, and the general way of life. Goodwin laughed out of him when asked who his favorite Benedictine Sister was. "I cannot say I like a specific Sister more than another, I like them all and for different reasons," Goodwin said. "In my professional career, I would have to say Sister Kathleen Hofer. She is a great combination of a monastic woman and a powerful executive. Prior to me becoming president, she was the chair of the Board of Trustees, as well as the Prioress of the monastery."
As to his future, Dr. Goodwin shared more on where he sees himself in 10 years. "I do not see myself as the president of St. Scholastica. As I get older, I am hoping I am still able to travel, and perhaps get back into teaching," Goodwin said. "This is a great job. The energy that the students give off at this place is something that just jump-starts your day."