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ccording to the Center for Disease Control, an average of 1 in 110

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Southern alumna who was “passionate about her love for learning”has bequeathed $1.2 million to Southern in her will — the largest gift ever received by the university. Dorothy Weisbauer Goodwin, ’39, who earned her teaching certification from the then-New Haven State Teachers College, went on to train Southern student teachers in New Haven schools for more than 30 years. A resident of Woodbridge, Conn., she died Feb. 9, 2009, at the age of 91. A total of $1 million of her gift will be used to fund and support an endowed chair in special education, the first such faculty position in university history. The distinguished professor to hold the position is expected to be named by the fall and will spend more than half of his or her time conducting research in autism, which will bolster Southern’s new Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Goodwin’s gift will also support enrichment programs for faculty members and scholarships for students in education. The recently constructed administrative wing of Engleman Hall has been named in her honor. It is highly appropriate that Goodwin’s gift will be centered in the School of Education, says her niece, Gayle Fazzalaro, ’67. “Education was her life,” Fazzalaro says. “She felt that the younger generation was the hope for the future and that it was an honor to be able to help to mold a new generation.” Goodwin’s “wonderful legacy” speaks not only to her commitment to lifelong learning “but also to her devotion to Southern, based upon her experiences

children in the United States has an Autism Spectrum Disorder

(ASD) — a developmental disability that significantly impairs social interaction and communication. Confronting such statistics head-on, Southern’s Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders will launch numerous initiatives to help children and youths with an ASD. Among the programs to be offered are

THE CENTER

training for educators and professional staff, research, and

SOUTHERN

Supporting

direct services, such as evaluating children and conducting clinics. The center builds on Southern’s demonstrated

ON

efforts to conduct research and train educators to work with those with an ASD. The Department of Special

AUTISM

Education includes a Master of Science degree program with a specialization in autism spectrum disorders and

SPECTRUM

other developmental disabilities. In 2008, Gov. M. Jodi

DISORDERS

developing a statewide plan to better educate children

Rell authorized the university to take a lead role in

with autism and other developmental disorders.

here as a student and a teacher,” said Dr. Cheryl J. Norton, who was president of Southern when the gift was made. “It is truly gratifying that an individual who devoted her abundant talents and energy to enriching lives through education has bestowed a gift that will benefit Southern’s faculty and students for generations to come,” Norton said. Born in New Haven in 1918, Goodwin stayed in Connecticut, living in Hamden and finally Woodbridge before and following the death of her husband, Bill, in 1980. She followed her teaching certification with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern in the 1950s. She was accompanied on her educational journey by her older sister, Mildred McIntyre (Fazzalaro’s mother), who also graduated with both degrees during the same period. “With that kind of example, there was never any other option for me as a career,” jokes Fazzalaro, who taught high

school students in West Haven, Conn., for 30 years. To complete the Southern connection, Fazzalaro, Goodwin’s last surviving direct relative, met her husband, Ron (Class of ’67), while they were both students at Southern. The couple now resides in Venice, Fla. “My aunt had a lot of talents,” Fazzalaro says. “She could paint, create ceramics, and reproduced gorgeous porcelain dolls, for which she designed and sold the clothes.” The 1939 “Laurel” student yearbook also lauded the then-senior: “Efficient and thorough in all that she does, and possessing exceptional talent in all of her handicrafts, “Dottie” has an excellent background for her immediate desire — a teaching career.” Education remained her true calling. Throughout Goodwin’s long life, her zeal for education was undiminished, her niece says: “She was passionate about her love for learning.” n

An assortment of photographs of Dorothy “Dottie” Weisbauer Goodwin through the years, including a spotlight from the 1939 “Laurel” student yearbook [LOWER RIGHT]. Summer 2010 | 23

Southern Alumni Magazine Summer 2010  

A magazine for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University