Harvey and Judith Goodman Give Gift for the Meg Mathies Cell and Molecular Biology Lab

Sometimes a college is best represented by a single individual, someone who can empathize and listen to the concerns of a new student and her parents, while calmly explaining the rules, regulations, and details that might otherwise overwhelm a family during first-year orientation. Such was the fortunate case when Professor Meg Mathies met Dr. Harvey and Mrs. Judith Goodman and their daughter Brooke in August 2001.

“Enjoy the gardens,” Dr. Goodman recalls Professor Mathies urging them. “Meet the people here. Then come to my office later this afternoon and we’ll get down to work. Don’t worry about this registration process.”

When Dr. Goodman remembers this “indelible experience,” he thinks of Professor Mathies’s generosity of time and spirit, her attention to Brooke’s interests in medicine and other subjects as, together, they planned Brooke’s curriculum.

“We made a gift to the science program at Scripps because we want to encourage talented women to pursue science,” said Dr. Goodman, who owns his own neurology practice in Tucson, “and we think that the W.M. Keck Scienc Center empowers women scientists. Ultimately, though, Meg was the reason for our giving. As a scientist and teacher, she’s mentored and been a role model for so many students. We feel that her passion for scientific investigation, coupled with her empathy, has drawn students to her for the purpose of learning.

In other words, she brings human values into the scientific formula.” The Goodmans appreciate both their daughter’s passion for science and her desire to broaden and deepen her college education through a liberal arts curriculum. “My first hope for Brooke’s education is that she be well rounded because I think the arts and humanities give a person designs for living,” notes Judith Goodman. “The sciences, especially biology, are important in pre-med, but I’m pleased that Scripps puts the humanities first because I favor a broader education in the foundational years.”

Brooke couldn’t agree more.

“I chose Scripps because I wanted a small school with a good science/humanities blend. The humanities background, especially Core III, has been a real eye opener for me into the connection between science and the humanities. They really need each other, and they help or facilitate each other. Core III has taught me a lot about empathy, made me realize the ‘I could be you’ feeling of compassion, and spurred my desire to help. The science of treating people and the art of relating to those human beings is key.”

As Brooke worked her way through Scripps’ Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities, as well as her rigorous pre-med courses in biology, chemistry, and physics, her parents became more intrigued by the “blended” education their daughter was receiving, and they sought a way to encourage more young women to pursue science programs at Scripps.

“We wanted to give early on in the hopes that our gift would signify the importance of the project [a new science lab] and encourage others to give,” says Dr. Goodman. “When we heard that the project had taken off, it was very exciting, a fulfillment of our hopes.”

Although Meg Mathies retired in 2002 after a 37-year career as a biology professor, her legacy in the Joint Science Program of The Claremont Colleges will live on through the new Meg Mathies Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, a facility supported, in part. by the Goodmans’ generous gift. With evergrowing numbers of majors-97 Scripps students intended majors in
biology disciplines in 2001-this lab will relieve crowding and give access to advanced courses to a new generation of doctors, researchers, and humanists.

Some say teaching is an art, but the teaching of science requires both artistry and technology. “The addition of the
Meg Mathies Lab is crucial to our increasing commitment to cellular and molecular biology, fields that have seen an explosion of interest in recent years,” according to Andrew Dowsett, associate dean of the Joint Science Department. “The lab will allow us to run additional, high quality, modern lab exercises in purpose-built facilities. It is also very pleasing to us to be able to honor Meg Mathies, one of the most beloved members of our faculty, in this way.”

For more information or to contribute to the Meg Mathies Lab, please contact Ana Collisson, director of development, at (909) 621-8160.