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Murray Goodman

Professor of Chemistry

UC San Diego



University professors are supposed to teach, carry out research, and perform professional and community service. For over 50 years, first at Brooklyn Polytech and then at UCSD, Professor Murray Goodman did not simply fulfill each requirement; he excelled at each and every one of them! Not only was Murray an outstanding classroom lecturer, but he also trained over 80 Ph.Ds, over 100 postdoctoral students and hosted in his laboratories over 50 visiting scientists from around the world. Just this past spring, his distinguished teaching was applauded with the UCSD Chancellor’s Associates Outstanding Teaching Award.


Murray Goodman’s research accomplishments and contributions to the fields of organic, polymer, and the biochemistry of peptides and peptidomimetics are formidable and have resulted in over 500 scientific publications. As a leader in his chosen field, Murray also authored textbooks and monographs, led the international peptide society, and served for decades as editor-in-chief of the leading journal in his field, “Biopolymers”. He was a sought after consultant to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and played key roles in many biotech startups using his peptide chemistry to create new drugs. For his outstanding research and professional service, Murray received numerous awards including the American Chemical Society’s Hirschmann, Cope Scholar, and Hermann Mark Awards, just to name a few.


Despite all of his professional commitments, most significantly, Murray Goodman led his community - in fact - all of his communities. For example, he was very involved with the Jewish community and Hillel and served as President of the Beth El Synagogue which he was instrumental in establishing and building in La Jolla.


At UCSD, Murray Goodman mentored younger faculty like ourselves, he led the Organic Chemistry Division, he chaired the Chemistry Department for two terms, and he served as Provost of Revelle College when Paul Saltman became Vice Chancellor. Murray was elected to be Chair of the Faculty Academic Senate and served with distinction, and he helped lead the founding of the Faculty Club which was so critical to creating community at UCSD, and he served as its president.


Even with all of his enthusiasm, drive and energy, Murray had a light side. Some of us will never forget his performance as a stand-up comedian in the Lajollywood review at the Faculty Club when he took such great aim at the architectural design of the buildings on the UCSD campus. He had a realistic and wise view of the world, but he was consistently warm and friendly to all. He was a steadfast and supportive friend who performed significant deeds for those he loved, like helping a faculty colleague who suffered a stroke recuperate and seeing to it that he could remain professionally active. Murray was the very definition of a “mensch”.


Last July 6, some of us had the joy of sharing with Murray, his wife Zelda of over 50 years, and his family the celebration of his 75th birthday. This was an occasion at which Professor Edward Dennis, UCSD community supporter Milton Fredman, Dr. Rao Makineni representing the international peptide community, and several major donors in the La Jolla community celebrated the completion of a campaign to raise the Murray Goodman Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSD. This will be a fitting and lasting tribute to Murray. In addition, donations are now being accepted by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to establish an annual Murray Goodman Lectureship in his memory.


Murray Goodman passed away on June 1, 2004 in Munich, Germany where he was lecturing. As we all know, Murray was the essence of the modern Renaissance man. At 75 he was still very much in his prime and we will all miss him dearly.



Stanley Opella

Yitzhak Tor

Edward A. Dennis, Chair