Editor’s note: Eamon O’Leary was misquoted. His quote included the word “inside” instead of “insight.” Changes have been made within the article to reflect this correction.
USF lost a beloved professor on July 13, 2017, in a small plane crash in Sonoma County. William Goldman was an assistant professor of international studies and an adviser for Model UN. Professor Goldman participated in public service and was an accomplished scholar and passionate teacher.
The International Studies Department held a celebration of life for Goldman on Oct. 20, during which students and members of the University community could gather to share stories and commemorate Goldman’s life. Aside from this celebration, three of his students spoke about his contributions to the classroom and the effect he had on their lives.
Eamon O’Leary, a junior international studies major, had Goldman for his European Integration class during his sophomore year. Goldman was also O’Leary’s advisor for his European studies minor. O’Leary describes Goldman as a hard but fair professor.
“He made me feel what I was giving him was an insight to my character,” O’Leary said. Even though he felt pushed to be the best he could in Goldman’s class, he says that Goldman really connected with all his students. “He was really relatable and loved to talk about what he was like when he was our age,” said O’Leary.
He recalled the times when Professor Goldman would arrive early to class. As students came in, he would engage in conversation about how their weekend were. “My favorite thing about him is that he made class not feel like a class, but a community. We all shared similar interests and he brought that out of all of us,” recalled O’Leary.
Mic Washo, a sophomore international studies major, also attested to the top-notch teaching of Goldman during his World Since 1945 class. Washo described Goldman as very candid and genuine during class. When asked what stood out about Goldman, Washo explained that at the beginning of the year he assigned different textbooks with different perspectives. Because of the transparency he had with his students in regards to their political opinions, Washo and others felt that was someone whose opinions they trusted. Washo even said that right off the bat, Professor Goldman inspired him to work hard when he began taking his class.
Another student from Goldman’s World Since 1945 class, sophomore Elise DeFazio, recalled a time when class was starting, but Goldman hadn’t started teaching yet. “It was the typical environment. Everyone was on their phones. Goldman said ‘Why aren’t you guys talking. This is so weird.’” Elise explained that he was bothered by everyone being on their phones because he wanted his students to make connections with each other. This was something she admired about him. “I like having someone who actually cares about your experience and not just how you’re doing in their class — wanting you to grow more as an individual and not just a student.”
Goldman’s students recognized that he wanted them to think about the decisions that they can make that would impact other people. He will be greatly missed by the USF community.