Rick Goddard FR'69, the 2023 Stephen M. Foster ES'65 Exemplary Service Award Recipient

This year’s recipient of the 2023 Stephen M. Foster ES'65 Exemplary Service Award is Rick Goddard FR'69.

Rick attended SYA France as a junior from Penn High School (Mishawaka, Ind.), the fifth of 14 children. When Rick was a sophomore, his French teacher, Leah Silver, presented him with a unique opportunity: a “new program” then called School Boys Abroad. He took tests to qualify, received a full scholarship and found the turning point of his life: a year at SYA France. On the advice of his SYA math teacher, Walter Burgin, Rick attended Oberlin College where he majored in French and theater. He studied abroad again, in Paris and Florence, on his self-created study of art, culture, literature and language.  

After college, Rick worked as a community organizer in majority Black counties in Virginia and North Carolina. He brought together community leaders to collectively identify and resolve problems and expand voter turnout. It was this experience that propelled him to attend law school. He distinguished himself academically and graduated from Washington & Lee University School of Law with Order of the Coif honors.  

Rick spent his entire forty-two-year career with Calfee, Halter & Griswold in Cleveland until he retired in 2020. He was a charter member of the Inns of Court for most of his career and was a devoted mentor to many.  

He believed strongly in service to others, including SYA among countless organizations and causes. Rick was a stalwart supporter of SYA for decades. Always one to roll up his sleeves and get to work, Rick served as his class correspondent, was a member of the Philanthropy Council, assisted the admissions team by interviewing prospective SYA students, was an active volunteer for The Campaign for SYA and gave to the SYA Fund for 43 consecutive years (tied with another donor for most consecutive years giving to SYA).  

With heavy hearts, SYA awarded this honor posthumously as Rick passed away in March 2023. A quote from Rick that his family referenced sums up his life’s work, especially his dedication to and passion for SYA, “I think the most important thing we can do as humans is to create opportunity for others."

SYA Awards Committee
Darcy McLean ES'01, Chair 

Donald Austin FR'01-07RD, Head of Newark Academy
Annabelle Brown Fowlkes FR'90 FR'22P
Julian Fu CN'06
Brittany Toscano Gore IT'02
Nahin Jorgge IT'06
Peter Kirby FR'79
Holland Goss Lynch FR'86

Join us for Founder's Day Town Hall to meet Anne Unverzagt, Rick's widow
Wednesday, September 27 at 3 p.m. EDT