Southampton High School’s January alumni spotlight

Published 9:28 pm Monday, February 28, 2022

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A Southampton County native, Bernard Goodwyn is a 1979 honor graduate (co-valedictorian) of Southampton High School and served as the quarterback on its state champion football team. He attended Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1983. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia’s School of Law in 1986, where he was an editor for the Virginia Tax Review, a member of the Raven Society and received the Ritter Award for honor, character and integrity.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Goodwyn practiced law and was named a partner in the Norfolk law firm of Willcox & Savage. From 1997 until his appointment to the Supreme Court, Goodwyn was a judge in the First Judicial Circuit Court in Chesapeake. Prior to being named to the circuit court, he served two years as a district court judge. Goodwyn also served on the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Law during the 1994-95 school year as a research associate professor of law.

On Oct. 10, 2007, Goodwyn was appointed to the Supreme Court of Virginia by Gov. Tim Kaine to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy early in 2007. In the 2008 session of the Virginia General Assembly, the General Assembly unanimously elected Goodwyn to a 12-year term. In January 2020, he was reappointed to another 12-year term, set to expire in 2032. He became the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia on Jan. 1, 2022.