History chair, LIFE program founder Richard Goode wins Mary Morris Award
By Janel Shoun-Smith on 4/13/2013
|(lto r) Previous award winner Jon Lee, Charlie and Lois Morris, Goode, and previous winners Andrew and Lindsey Krinks.|
Richard Goode, chair of the Lipscomb University history, politics and philosophy department and founder of the LIFE Program (Lipscomb Initiative for Education), was selected as the 2013 recipient of the Mary Morris Award, an annual award given by the university to a member of the Lipscomb community who exhibits an exemplary spirit of service to the community.
Goode, a 23-year member of the Lipscomb faculty and the author of several works of historical commentary, established Lipscomb’s LIFE Program in 2007. The program provides for-credit classes in the Tennessee Prison for Women for a group of selected inmates and brings traditional undergraduate college students to study with them inside the prison each week. The LIFE Program has had a profound effect on the lives of the 45 women inmates involved as well as on the hundreds of students who have enrolled in the classes.
Inmates now have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree from Lipscomb, and several of the LIFE participants who were paroled are now pursuing college degrees. Two years ago the LIFE Program was expanded to provide college credit courses to homeless men through Nashville’s Room in the Inn program.
“The doors have been thrown open. I now know that prison doors cannot confine my mind,” wrote one TPFW inmate who participates in the LIFE Program. “Dr. Goode saves lives,” wrote another. “I now have a future to look forward to. I have never seen such as example of servitude.”
Goode is a Lipscomb alumnus who earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from Vanderbilt University. While in graduate school at Vanderbilt, Goode was a key player in starting a graduate-level program in theology at Riverbend Prison, one of only two of its kind in the country. That experience inspired him years later to begin a similar program at TPFW that -- unlike the vast majority of education programs for inmates -- would not only provide stimulating education, but would also provide college credit, offering hope for a better future.
In addition, allowing traditional college students to study with the inmates promotes understanding and greater awareness of the impacts of social problems for the traditional students and a boost of self-esteem for the inmates, who enjoy getting to know the students on a personal level.
Upon receiving his award on April 11, Goode told an audience of Lipscomb students and faculty that the LIFE Program strives to see the inmates “as people, not problems. Our quest is to see the humanity and the dignity of the sisters before us,” he said. “Standing with is less about strategies and programs and more about presence.”
The Mary Morris Award for Exemplary Service to Society is named for Mary Morris, a Lipscomb associate professor of education and founder of the university’s Center for Character Development, who passed away at the age of 36 due to cancer in 2005. The center promoted the Character Counts! program in schools, businesses and organizations throughout the city. The award is given annually to someone who displays the same spirit of service she possessed.
Past winners include: Randy Steger, founder of Healing Hands International; Tom Burton, executive director of AGAPE; John Lee, founder of the Living Water Project; and Kim Tucker, founder of the I.C. White Stone Foundation.
Lipscomb honored Goode in 2003 with the Outstanding Teaching Award, and he is a member of the American Society of Church History. He has presented numerous papers at professional conferences, and is the author of several published works.