In Memoriam to Daniel L. Goodwin (1943-2024)

Headshot of Dr. Goodwin
Headshot of Dr. Goodwin

Daniel L. Goodwin, NEIU alumnus, real estate guru and philanthropist, died on Jan. 19, 2024, at the age of 80.

Goodwin had strong ties to the NEIU community. Before it was known as NEIU, Goodwin enrolled in the first freshman class at the Illinois Teachers’ College-Chicago North (ITCCN) located on the main campus. He met his future wife, Carol during his enrollment. He was also the inaugural president of the Student Government Association.

After Goodwin graduated from ITCCN with a bachelor’s degree in 1966, he received his master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. He also served five years as a science teacher for Chicago Public Schools before embarking on a life-altering career in real estate.

In 1968, Goodwin launched the Inland Real Estate Group, of which he also served as chairman and CEO. Under his leadership, the Oak-Brook-based company has grown into one of the largest real estate and finance groups in the US with more than 1,000 employees nationwide.

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With Goodwin at the helm, Inland Real Estate Group has raised over $26 million in capital, conducted over $80 billion in real estate transactions, sponsored over 800 investment programs, and founded seven Inland entities that either listed or merged with a public company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Inland Interim Chairman Robert H. Baum released a statement about Goodwin’s death on the company’s website, “Dan’s legacy leaves an indelible mark upon the commercial real estate and investment industry and the thousands of lives he impacted through his many civic and philanthropic endeavors, especially in the areas of affordable housing, higher education, and good government.”

Goodwin was the inaugural recipient of NEIU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005. He also served as the inaugural chairman of NEIU’s Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2006, as well as the first and only alumnus to serve on the Board of Governors of Illinois State Colleges and Universities.

In October 2015, Goodwin made a commitment of $2.5 million to NEIU, the first multi-million dollar commitment and largest single charitable gift in NEIU history. The gift consisted of program support for the College of Education and lectureship in an effort to bring more prominent speakers to campus. In response to this commitment, NEIU’s Board of Trustees named the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education in his honor.

NEIU dedicated the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education on January 26, 2016, “Today’s dedication is more than just an honor for a very generous benefactor,” said then-Board of Trustees member Barbara Fumo. “It is also the establishment of a legacy of a true educator.”

In the article from the Independent, Goodwin addressed students in his closing remarks of his dedication ceremony speech, “The message that I have for you is [that] the most important thing in life is to follow your passion. Whether that passion involves being a nurse, a teacher, a mother, a homemaker or a lawyer…don’t pass up that opportunity to follow your passion. That is what life is all about.”

In an interview in October 2016, Goodwin expressed his gratitude for NEIU’s College of Education being named after him, “Northeastern is a special place with unique opportunities. The University makes achieving a college degree affordable and provides multiple opportunities for a diverse student body to adapt their education to individual lifestyles.”

Goodwin’s death was announced to the NEIU community by Interim President Dr. Katrina Bell-Jordan in an email to NEIU faculty, staff and students on Jan. 23, 2024.

 Interim President Bell-Jordan stated, “Mr. Goodwin’s lasting legacy and firm belief in the power of Northeastern’s mission will continue to positively impact the University community and will be forever appreciated.”

Goodwin is survived by his wife, Carol, two daughters and several grandchildren.

Bell-Jordan stated in the email that NEIU has made plans to commemorate Goodwin’s life and legacy at a later date.

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