Leo Goodman-Malamuth, Second GSU President, Dies at 88

Dr. Leo Goodman-Malamuth
Dr. Leo Goodman-Malamuth, shown at Governors State University’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2009. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Dr. Leo Goodman-Malamuth, Second Governors State University President, is Remembered for Reorganization of University’s Colleges, Curriculum, Grading System

University Park, IL, January 23, 2013 – Dr. Leo Goodman-Malamuth II, second president of Governors State University, died Sunday, January 20, at his home in LaQuinta, California. He was 88. Dr. Goodman-Malamuth served as GSU’s president between October, 1977 and July, 1992.

During his 15 years as GSU president, Dr. Goodman-Malamuth was instrumental in revising its curriculum, redesigning its colleges, and developing a new student grading system. Dr. Goodman-Malamuth reorganized the university’s administration, establishing the first office of Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

“Dr. Goodman-Malamuth strengthened GSU’s role as a Public Square,” said GSU’s current president, Dr. Elaine P. Maimon. “He sustained GSU’s founding principle of innovation, while imposing necessary constraints and developing sound educational practices.”

Dr. Goodman-Malamuth was an early supporter of GSU’s Center for Performing Arts, a cultural jewel in the Chicago Southland. He commissioned several works of art for the nationally-renowned Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. He helped establish the GSU Foundation, the university’s fund-raising arm. Dr. Goodman-Malamuth expanded GSU’s use of communications technology, especially through the use of telecourses that were transmitted all around the United States.

“He was an excellent president who brought a feeling of community and spirit to GSU,” said Dr. David Curtis, who worked with Dr. Goodman-Malamuth for many years as an administrator. “I loved the man.”

“He was the president who took the most steps to move GSU into the mainstream of higher education,” Dr. Curtis said. “When he arrived on campus, he saw that changes were needed.” It took a few years until all the changes were in effect, Curtis said, but Dr. Goodman-Malamuth was a “constant presence,” who made sure GSU was headed in the right direction.

“I felt that here was a place that had a tremendously bright future,” Dr. Goodman-Malamuth said about GSU in 1991. “I decided to come here to see if I couldn’t in some way help move (GSU) along with the faculty and staff … to help the university attain some of its aspirations.”

President Maimon recalls a phone conversation with Dr. Goodman-Malamuth, informing him that GSU received the necessary approval to admit freshman in 2014. “Leo was thrilled. He understood in a fundamental way that GSU was continuing the forward movement that he had

championed during his tenure at GSU. That phone call remains a special memory for me.”

A California native, Dr. Goodman-Malamuth was Vice President for Academic Affairs at California State University at Long Beach prior to his appointment as GSU president. Dr. Goodman-Malamuth joined California State University at Long Beach as an assistant professor. During his twenty years, at California State he progressed through faculty ranks in his field of audiology and speech pathology.  He received a BA degree in speech, radio-TV; an MA in speech pathology; and a Ph.D. in speech pathology and communication from the University of Southern California. He was a U.S. Army veteran.

In 2009, Dr. Goodman-Malamuth returned to GSU for the university’s 40th anniversary celebration, taking part in a panel discussion on the university’s past and future.

In December, 1994, the GSU Foundation Board of Directors approved the Leo and Margaret Goodman-Malamuth Endowed Scholarship in Media Communications Technologies. Most of the funds for this scholarship were donated by Dr. and Mrs. Goodman-Malamuth during his tenure as GSU president. Additional funding was contributed to the endowment at the time of Margaret’s death in 1993, with contributions made in love and respect by university faculty and staff, and by friends from throughout the region.

No funeral or memorial service is planned for Dr. Goodman-Malamuth at this time. His family said that a celebration of life in his honor will take place later this year on a date to be determined.

Governors State University, the only public university in the Chicago Southland region, serves more than 7,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and certificate programs. GSU has the most affordable undergraduate tuition in Illinois and is nationally recognized for its innovative Dual Degree Program, providing a quality, seamless pathway from community college to university graduation. In 2014, GSU will become a full-service, four-year university, admitting its first freshman class and introducing apartment and suite style housing.