They Began as Professor and Student—and Became Lifelong Friends

Georges Melhem, E’84, ME’86, PhD’88, recognizes budding engineers with promise—because early on, he was one himself. In 1980, Melhem was an excellent student with an interest in engineering, but the civil war in his home country of Lebanon spurred him to emigrate to the United States. He settled in Boston and pursued his undergraduate degree at the College of Engineering, where a relationship he developed there changed his life.

At Northeastern, Melhem studied chemical engineering under the guidance of Professor Bernie Goodwin, E’56. Today, he considers Goodwin, who passed away in 2022, to be the mentor who had the greatest impact on both his career and his life.

“Bernie wanted to teach, and I wanted to learn,” Melhem shares. “Bernie was the kind of teacher who urged his students to pursue higher achievement for those who accepted the challenge.”

“Bernie and Georges were two of a kind,” recalls Judy Goodwin-Lennemann, Goodwin’s wife. “If Bernie thought Georges could do better, he told him so.”

“I was lucky because I got to learn from and work with Bernie,” says Melhem. “I want to make sure no one forgets in the future that Bernie was an outstanding teacher.”

Throughout Melhem’s career, Goodwin encouraged him to pursue and achieve his ambitious goals—and over the years, the two developed a lifelong relationship. Now, Melhem is president of ioMosaic, a safety and risk management consulting company. After finding professional success, he was inspired to give back to Northeastern and pay tribute to his former professor.

In 2015, unbeknownst to Goodwin, Melhem endowed a scholarship in the professor’s honor to support undergraduates who decide to major in chemical engineering.

“Even if I can help just a little bit, one student at a time, it’s quite satisfying to see a student have a chance to succeed like I did,” says Melhem.

Several years before Bernie passed away, Melhem surprised him by revealing his gift to endow the Bernard Goodwin Scholarship, news that Melhem was gratified to share with his friend and mentor.

“Bernie was overwhelmed,” Judy Goodwin-Lennemann recalls. “It was so unexpected.”

Judy Goodwin-Lennemann has met with students who are recipients of the Goodwin Scholarship. She has seen and heard firsthand the impact that the scholarship has had on them, and moved by this, she made her own generous contribution to the scholarship through a gift in her will.

“It’s nice to know that Bernie’s name will be attached to the scholarship forever,” she shares.

Thanks to Goodwin-Lennemann’s additional generous gift from her estate, the Professor Bernard Goodwin Scholarship is poised to support many engineering students in the future.

Endowing a named scholarship fund is a wonderful way to honor or memorialize a family member, friend, or mentor, and to leave a permanent legacy at Northeastern. Endowed funds may be established with a minimum gift of $100,000, and they generate annual revenue that will continue to support your or your honoree’s scholarship in perpetuity.

There are also opportunities for donors to fund honorary named scholarships, university programs, campus spaces, and more. Like Judith Goodwin-Lennemann, many donors enjoy establishing or contributing to a named scholarship through a gift in their will. These future gifts are a meaningful way to honor someone and sustain the Northeastern experience for generations of students to come.

“I feel so fortunate and privileged to have known Bernie Goodwin, to have learned from him, to have worked with him, and now, to honor him and his memory,” says Georges Melhem.

Even if I can help just a little bit, one student at a time, it’s quite satisfying to see a student have a chance to succeed like I did.” 

—Georges Melhem, E’84, ME’86, PhD’88

This article was originally written by Carolyn Buckley-Cooper
and published by the Office of Planned Giving.