Susan S. Goode Isn’t Shy About Supporting the Humanities

Susan S. and David R. Goode
Susan S. and David R. Goode

Susan S. Goode is a cherished and loyal supporter of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She’s not shy about telling why that is: “VFH is a well-run organization that fills a niche in Virginia that isn’t filled by anyone else.”

A two-term VFH board member and resident of Norfolk, Susan served from 1995-2001. Though she grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, she moved to Roanoke in 1965, then to Norfolk in 1990, and considers herself a Virginian.

Susan remembers her VFH Board tenure very fondly. “I learned so much from all the fascinating VFH board members and scholars. In discussions they would always come up with things that I hadn’t thought about before and broaden the way I would think. It was especially rewarding to learn what was going on around the state through the Grants Committee, which awarded grants to organizations of all levels.”

Susan also credits the diversity of the board—typically a mixture of scholars, business people, philanthropists, and academic administrators—as one of the organization’s key strengths. Susan recalls with pride being involved with VFH’s early work on issues of violence, the creation of the African American Heritage Trail and adoption of the radio show, With Good Reason. 

“Radio was the most effective way to have VFH become known around the state,” she recalls. “Back in the mid-90s many around Virginia didn’t know about VFH and its programs, but radio has helped change that.”

Encyclopedia Virginia


“It is so valuable to have all that information on Virginia integrated and in one place” – Susan S. Goode

Susan has made a five-year pledge to Encyclopedia Virginia and recently matched that with a similar pledge to the Annual Fund. When asked what prompted the decision, she responded, “it is so valuable to have all that information on Virginia integrated and in one place. The more we can do to help teachers use history in their classrooms, the better.” She believes it is crucial for children to have accurate and engaging resources on Virginia history that are linked to other relevant topics. “Whether it turns out to be books, music, food, or society, having it all intertwined for you on this [web]site is a great service,” she says, acknowledging the growing depth and breadth of the online project.

Susan studied history at Duke University, and has kept up a lifelong interest in the arts, music, and humanities. She devotes time and support locally, across Virginia, and even nationally as a current member of the Norfolk Public Arts Commission, the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the collection committee of the Chrysler Museum of Art. She also sits on the boards of Americans for the Arts, Virginia Wesleyan College, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and is secretary for the board of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. She received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Roanoke College in 2008. She and her husband, David R. Goode, retired CEO of the Norfolk Southern Corporation, received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2008. They have two daughters, Christina and Martha.