Athlete, scholar slated to speak at PDCCC’s commencement

Published 11:46 am Saturday, April 9, 2011


FRANKLIN—S. Bernard Goodwyn’s classmates at Southampton High School made an accurate prediction when they voted him “Most Likely to Succeed.”

The 1979 graduate, who is now a justice with the Supreme Court of Virginia, will be the keynote speaker during Paul D. Camp Community College’s 40th commencement on Friday, May 13.

Goodwyn attributes part of his success to the place where he was raised.

“Growing up in Southampton County gave me a solid foundation I could use for the rest of my life,” he said. “I aspired to be like the people that were around me.”

The Boykins native was his high school valedictorian, president of the student body, president of the sophomore and junior classes, vice president of the senior class, president of the band where he played tenor saxophone, captain of the track team, a member of the National Honor Society and sports editor for the school newspaper.

Goodwyn is probably best remembered as the quarterback and captain during 1977-78 for the Southampton Indians. The Big Red Machine won the State Championship in 1976 and 1978.

“We were runners-up in ’77,” Goodwyn recalled. “I was defensive back during my sophomore year and backup quarterback in ’76.”

Goodwyn was Harvard University’s quarterback during his freshman year, defensive back as a sophomore, and wide receiver in his junior year.

“I quit so I could spend more time running track,” he said.

Goodwyn earned some varsity letters as a sprinter during that time as well.

He graduated from Harvard Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1983. Goodwyn was awarded the Harvard College, National Achievement, U.S. Senate Youth Program and Camp Foundation scholarships.

He earned a Juris Doctor in 1986 from the University of Virginia’s School of Law. While in Charlottesville, he received the Ritter Award for honor, character and integrity, the Grant/Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship and the National NAACP Scholarship.

In addition, he was a member of Raven Society for leadership and the Black Law Students Association.

Goodwyn was a litigation attorney and partner in a Norfolk firm of 60 lawyers and has been a trial court judge for 12 years.

He is currently a deacon at Galilee Baptist Church in Branchville, a member of the Virginia Bar Association Boyd-Graves Conference, the Chesapeake Chapter of NAACP, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Prince Hall Masons.

Goodwyn is married to Sharon Smith Goodwyn. They have two children, Samuel Jared and Sarah Elizabeth.