Goodwills retire and “transition to new things” after 23 years of teaching at BYU-Hawaii

Written by: 
Adam Case
Goodwills Retire

“We have 65 boxes of books packed in the living room right now. I think that we will end up with around 100 boxes,” said retiring Associate Professor of English Sanoma Goodwill. Both she and her husband Roger, professor of biology, are retiring after around 23 years of teaching English and marine biology, respectively, at BYU-Hawaii.

About her final weeks before retirement, Sister Goodwill said, “It’s hard to be motivated sometimes. Once I get to the classroom I have fun, but I have some other things that I want to do in life. I would like to have time to work on family history. I was at the retirement party for the Compton’s yesterday and he said something very interesting. He said he doesn’t think of it as retirement, he thinks of it as ‘transitioning.’ I should adopt that. We are transitioning to new things.”

Both coming from military families, the Goodwills have lived across the world, ranging from Germany to Japan.

Sister Goodwill said, “My mom once counted that by the time I was 47 years old, I had moved 47 different times.”

When explaining how she and her husband met, she said, “Our paths crossed for one year in Arizona. We were both in high school.” After both went to BYU and eventually got married, Brother Goodwill worked several different jobs, including a missile technician in the Air Force, a commercial fisherman, and a professor at a school in Kentucky. They eventually made their way to Hawaii and have taught at BYUH since. He said, “In 50 years of work, I have spent more than 30 of them in the Pacific.”

For his postretirement goals, Roger Goodwill said, “We are planning on doing genealogy and that kind of stuff, maybe even a church mission. You eventually get to a point where you can’t see and you can’t walk. Every day I wake up and something else doesn’t work, so if you’re going to do some of those things, you need to actually go and do them at some point.”

The Goodwills said they are planning on moving to Gilbert, Arizona sometime after this summer. Sister Goodwill said, “Seven of our 13 grandchildren live in that area near Gilbert. I want to spend time with them, and I want to quilt. I am also thinking about taking a Spanish class and probably volunteering to teach literacy or something like that. I will probably still be teaching, just not so constantly. A church mission also sounds good though.”

When asked what he is going to do after retirement, Roger Goodwill said jokingly, “We are going to watch television.” He added, “There is a lot of work that hasn’t been done, so I am going to take that with me and continue it. My research has been divided into two areas: marine invertebrate biodiversity and this little bird called the Pacific golden plover. I’m not a bird guy, but I fell into it. I hope I will be able to continue that.”

For students looking to someday be teachers, Sister Goodwill said, “I think if a student is thinking about teaching, they need to not just be in love with the subject they are teaching, they need to really love being around people. It doesn’t matter whether it is pre-school or college, you really need to like people; you need to care about them. You need to be passionate about it, otherwise you will not be a good teacher and you won’t be happy.”

Keith Peterson, associate professor of English, said he has taught multiple classes and presented at conferences with Sister Goodwill. When asked how he felt about her retirement, he said, “She deserves it. She has been working so hard for more than 20 years, taking a full load. She also teaches mostly the harder writing classes instead of major classes, which are generally easier to teach.”

Peterson said the Goodwills “do some of the best service at our school without drawing attention to themselves [and] have truly served the world during their time here.”

Regarding the legacy Brother Goodwill hopes to leave, he said, “I don’t know if there is one. I was chair [of the Biology Department] for 17 years, picking it up from where somebody else left it off. Things change. I can see how they are changing it in some ways already, and it can make you feel bad. On the other hand, they are the ones that have to run the program after I leave and things change.

“Things always have to be tweaked. I would guess that in a year, students won’t even know we were here. Those students who knew us will have graduated and moved on, and some of the faculty will have moved on. So I think the legacy is more in the fingerprints we leave. If I leave a document, it will be put in a filing cabinet and it doesn’t change much really. But if a student comes in and isn’t doing well or doesn’t know how to do well, and you go in and teach them how to do better, how to study better, you have left a fingerprint on that person.”

About her own legacy, Sister Goodwill said, “I feel the same way as my husband. I like to help students remember learning in my class and [the] learning being fun. I would love it if three generations from now somebody said, ‘Oh, my great-grandmother took English from Sister Goodwill at BYU-Hawaii, and that’s why I loved Beowulf.’ I think the legacy is the students who have grown and learned in our classes.”

Date Published: 
Friday, June 9, 2017
Last Edited: 
Friday, June 9, 2017

NOTE: This story's online publishing was delayed because it was featured in the June 2017 print issue.