Retired UConn professor dies of rare neurological disease

 Lynne Goldstein, a sociology professor, was a driving force behind the creation of innovative and interdisciplinary courses at the University of Connecticut. (photo via sociology.uconn.edu)

Lynne Goldstein, a sociology professor, was a driving force behind the creation of innovative and interdisciplinary courses at the University of Connecticut. (photo via sociology.uconn.edu)

A retired University of Connecticut Professor of Sociology and Director of the Honors Program died Monday, Nov. 5 from a rare neurological disease at her home in Cambridge, MA.

Lynne Goodstein was Director of the Honors Program and Assistant Vice-Provost at UConn until 2012. After that, she continued teaching in the sociology department.

Goodstein initiated the implementation of innovative and interdisciplinary courses for Honors and non-Honors students, according to Jennifer Lease Butts, the current Director of the Honors Program.

Butts released a statement praising Goodstein’s accomplishments while at UConn.

“[Goodstein] served as the first full-time Director of the Honors Program, and through her leadership Honors underwent significant and meaningful changes that set the stage for the program to emerge as one of the premier Honors Programs in the country,” the statement said.

The Honors program doubled in size under her leadership, and the quality of admitted students and success rates increased, according to the statement.

“She began the process to create Honors Core courses… In Enrichment Programs she created campus-wide support for undergraduate research and the funding programs available to students,” the statement said. “She also helped to formalize the pre-medical, pre-dental and pre-law advising offices to provide support for all students and alumni.”

John Dearborn, who graduated from UConn in 2013, was in the Honors Program when Goodstein was the director, and said she was an important figure in his undergraduate experience.

“[A] one-on-one meeting with her ended up being one of the most important moments in my life,” Dearborn said. “Dr. Goodstein strongly encouraged me to become a facilitator for an Honors course.”

Dearborn said Goodstein said he would be a great teacher. After having an amazing experience teaching as a facilitator, Dearborn said he discovered he had a passion for teaching.

“I’ve ended up pursuing the goal of becoming a college professor,” Dearborn said. “I really don’t think I would have ever taken this path without her initial encouragement, and I’ve always been immensely grateful to her for that.”

In 2017, The Dr. Lynne Goodstein and Dr. Peter Langer Award for Advising scholarship was created at UConn. The scholarship honors a faculty member each year who exceeds their job expectations in providing exceptional advising for Honors students.

Dearborn said many other students looked up to Goodstein, and said she had a large effect on them.

“Dr. Goodstein’s dedication to the Honors Program and her students was absolutely inspiring, and she impacted so many of us,” Dearborn said. “She was truly a wonderful UConn Husky.”

Before coming to UConn, Goodstein served as the Director of the Women Studies program and was Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Pennsylvania State University, and then was the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professional Studies at Simmons College, according to her family.

Goodstein earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the City University of New York Graduate School, her family said. She was a professor of sociology, psychology and women’s studies at Juniata College, Simmons College, Penn State University and UConn.

Goodstein enjoyed traveling and camping, according to her family, and was also “an excellent cook.”

“[She] had a zest for life that brightened the days of those around her, making and maintaining friendships throughout the country,” her son Aaron Shotland, said. “She loved traveling abroad, spending a few weeks per year hiking the Swiss Alps with her husband Peter.”

Goodstein also traveled domestically, camping for weeks in the summer near the National Seashore in Massachusetts and renting a house every year with family in New Jersey, her family said.

“In her spare time, [Goodstein] was a yoga enthusiast, avid hiker, play group reader and opera buff,” Shotland said.

Goodstein retired from UConn in May 2018 and purchased a condo in Philadelphia to spend more time with her grandchildren, her family said.

“She was an exceptionally caring and devoted mother, and cherished the time she spent with her two grandchildren,’” Shotland said. “[She] leaves behind an army of friends, family, former colleagues and students, who while utterly devastated by her sudden passing, are immensely grateful for having known her.”


Ashley Anglisano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at ashley.anglisano@uconn.edu.

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