Mark Goodson walked through the door with a smile ear-to-ear. His slim and tall stature reached almost to the top of the door frame. A retired businessman with a lengthy resume, who has chosen to spend one of his final eras of life as an Adrian College campus safety officer. Students pass him everyday while he roams the campus in his golf cart, or patrol car during colder months. Some may even spot him driving the caravans, and transporting students to and from the college’s infamous Thursday Caf bar nights. However, behind his uniform and trusty scarf, which he notes he has a lot of, is a man who has lived a very full and successful life.
Goodson is the son of two veterans of the Air Force, and was born on the base in Fort Worth, TX. After his parents’ service was up the family moved to his fathers hometown of Houston, TX. This is where he would spend the entirety of his youth, and eventually attend college at University of Houston. His graduate studies landed him at Boston University and this new endeavor sparked his curiosity of travel around the United States.
As a lover of travel, Goodson always pictured himself joining the Peace Corps. Yet his worries of not making enough money led him to a career in teaching. This path satisfied him for a while, but in hopes of continuing to earn more money he switched to sales, where he would sell hardware to “mom and pop” shops throughout Texas. After a friend suggested that oil was where the money was at, Goodson once again switched his career and began selling well parts to oil rigs and refineries.
“It was always about more money,” Goodson said. “I never even dreamed about doing any of this.”
After big chain stores began pushing out “mom and pop” businesses and the 1970s oil embargo, both of his previous careers had stalled. The money was now in the automotive business, which is what led Goodson to Michigan. This path was cut short when his money-led mind inspired him to buy a business in Adrian. After three years working for the company, and tripling their business, they decided not to sell. Goodson was left with no plan for his future, but within a week three competitors offered him a position. This is where he would spend the remainder of his career endeavors before retiring at 56.
In an attempt to keep himself busy in his years of retirement, Goodson took a position as campus safety officer at Adrian College. He was a part of the first formal safety officer staff at the college, a program previously run by student officers. Goodson was excited about this new adventure, and eight years later he still remains just as enthusiastic about the job. He says the students make the job worth all the frustration the role and the students themselves can bring.
“I love to see success and I try to promote it,” Goodson said. “I was a college student too and it’s a learning process.”
His journey to Michigan not only led him to work, but also to his wife, and eventually his children. Goodson describes this era of his life as the biggest challenge he had ever encountered. After living so many years independently, the idea of supporting a family was intimidating. However, two daughters later he wouldn’t change it for a thing.
“My biggest challenge became my biggest accomplishment,” Goodson said.
Goodson’s role at Adrian College extends well beyond just campus safety. He is also involved in Student Life, and one of his daughters is now the Director of Housing. Goodson has also provided assistance to many professors on campus. His involvement at Adrian has brought unexpected joy in his life, and he plans to stay involved as long as he feels that inspiration.
“When it stops being fun you won’t have to twist my arm, I’ll be out of here,” Goodson said.
Goodson’s variety of careers have provided him with countless learning opportunities. Yet, he emphasizes that the learning process never ends and he continues to learn from his daughters. One of his daughters, who has her masters and works in mental health, has taught him to “count his blessings everyday.” He says he has continued to learn about the struggles of others, and how important it is to remember somebody always has it worse. This is a lesson he uses everyday and most significantly with students on campus.
“You never know the other person’s story,” Goodson said.
If there is one lesson to take away from Goodson, it is to live life to the fullest. His story of hard work and taking big risks is something many can gain inspiration from. Goodson said life is too short to let yourself be stopped by roadblocks and obstacles.
“Don’t take life too serious,” Goodson said. “Have fun.”