32nd President Bro. Dr. Jesse F. Goodwin Entered Omega Chapter
Brother Dr. Jesse Francis Goodwin, 32nd President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated – Gamma Lambda Chapter, entered Omega Chapter on July 15, 2023. He was 94.
Brother Goodwin was born on February 9, 1929, in Greenville, South Carolina. He was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha through the Beta Tau Chapter at Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana on April 26, 1949. He graduated Cum Laude from Xavier in 1957 with a B.S. in Pharmacy and earned his M.S. in 1953 and Ph.D. in 1957 in Biochemistry from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. During his time in Detroit, Brother Goodwin remained active in Alpha through the Alpha Upsilon Chapter at Wayne State University and the Detroit Alumni Chapter, Gamma Lambda. He was Life Member 1403.
Brother Goodwin published numerous articles in the SPHINX, the official magazine of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. In October 1952, he wrote an article about the annual Alpha Upsilon “Deskadesis” and the new 1952 chapter initiates. He served as the associate editor to the Sphinx at that time. He was mentioned in an article in 1958 for earning his Ph.D. In December 1968 he wrote about a youth program sponsored by the Gamma Lambda Chapter. In February 1977 he published an article about the retirement of Past Chapter President and Past General Treasurer Brother Leven C. Weiss from the IRS.
Brother Goodwin served as Gamma Lambda President for three terms-1973 through 1975. Prior to his time as President, he served as Recording Secretary from 1961 to 1970, and Vice President from 1970 to 1973. Following his presidency, he served on the Executive Board from 1975 until 1987. He also served on the Entertainment Committee.
Professionally, Brother Goodwin served as Director of Laboratories for the City of Detroit Health Department from August 1973 until his retirement in 1997. He was the Chairman of the Detroit Branch NAACP Education Committee and was a NAACP Life Member. During his time as NAACP Education Chair, he helped to develop and lead the NAACP ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) program in Detroit, an achievement competition program for African American high school students.
Brother Goodwin remained active in the community and received many civic and community awards. In 1966, he was recognized as “Alpha Man of the Year” by the Midwestern Region of Alpha Phi Alpha. In 1970 he received an award for “Constructive Dissent” in education presented by committee for Observance of Human Rights Day. In 1972 he received a citation for Distinguished Community Service presented by the Human Relations Division of Detroit Board of Education in conjunction with the Detroit Branch NAACP. He was also a recipient of the Outstanding Committee award of the Detroit Branch NAACP in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971. He served on the Board of Directors for Loyola High School in Detroit and received the Magis Award in 2012 for is dedication and service to the school.
Brother Goodwin was an active member of the catholic faith community at Presentation Our Lady of Victory Parish and School for 60 years. He was an Usher, Chairperson of the Finance Council, a money counter and school board member.
Due to his declining health, Brother Goodwin moved to an assisted living facility in Dearborn, Michigan. Plans were made during the Summer 2023 for him to move closer to his son. The Gamma Lambda Chapter organized a going-away party and presented him with some Alpha gifts and refreshments. He was honored with the singing of the Alpha Hymn by the brothers in attendance. Sadly, he passed away a few days later.
He was married on December 26, 1959, to the former Della M. McGraw. He is survived by his three children: Gordon F. Goodwin, Paula Hammond Cunningham and Tyehimba Jess; a grandson, James Hammond; a sister, Vera Stewart; and several nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life for Brother Goodwin was held Saturday, August 12, at 11 am at the Saint Scholastica Chapel located on its campus at 8201 W. Outer Drive. It was hosted by Presentation Our Lady of Victory.