The late Richard “Dick” Alan Goodwin channeled a debilitating condition into a life of advocacy for those with disabilities. After being paralyzed in an automobile accident at age 21, Dick entered SIUE and earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies/sociology in 1973, followed by a master’s degree in sociology six years later.
As a quadriplegic, Dick found a tremendous need for advocacy and support programs for the disabled. He worked in the private sector for a decade, then founded IMPACT CIL in Alton in 1985. He served as the organization’s executive director for 19 years, advocating for reform and helping countless individuals with disabilities move toward independence. Dick was a leader in the disability rights movement and provided training across the state of Illinois. He was a spokesman for the Madison County Committee on the Rights of the Disabled and a board member on the National Paraplegia Foundation, the Equal Housing Opportunity Commission, the SIUE Disabled Students Association and the SIUE Alumni Association.
Dick received the Justin Dart Award from the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois, the Paraquad CIL of St. Louis - Spirit of Independence Award, and the YWCA of Alton - Man of Distinction Award. He died June 13, 2011 at the age of 65. Richard was inducted posthumously into the 2011 SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame.