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Billie Grace Goodrich Distinguished Lectures

Goodrich LogoHenry Calvin and Billie Grace Goodrich

Henry C. Goodrich, a longtime member of the UT Development Council, and Billie Grace Goodrich are graduates of the University of Tennessee. Mr. Goodrich received a BS in civil engineering in 1943, and Mrs. Goodrich received a BS in education in 1944.

Mr. Goodrich, a native of Fayetteville, Tennessee, married Billie Grace Walker, a native of Milan, Tennessee, in 1943. For more than 50 years they shared a life that, over the course of Mr. Goodrich’s career, took them from Birmingham, Alabama to Indianapolis, Indiana, and back to Birmingham. They raised three children: Michael, William Walker, and Sydney Lee.

In 1963, during his career with Rust Engineering, Mr. Goodrich oversaw the design of the first computer-designed space tower for NASA. This tower, the largest movable structure in the world, rolls around the missile to provide service access.

In 1967, the Goodrich family moved to Indianapolis where Mr. Goodrich became chairman and CEO of Inland Container. After arranging the sale of Inland to Time Inc., he moved his family back to Birmingham in 1979.

Mr. Goodrich was elected chairman of Sonat Inc., the South’s largest energy supplier and Alabama’s largest company. A highlight of his career with Sonat was the building and christening of the Henry Goodrich, the world’s largest enclosed semisubmersible offshore drilling rig, located in the North Sea off the coast of Norway.

Mr. Goodrich retired in 1985. He and Mrs. Goodrich continued their business interests as officers of Richgood Corporation, an investment firm in Birmingham which they started after Mr. Goodrich’s retirement.

The Billie Grace Goodrich Distinguished Lecture Series is funded by a gift from Mr. Goodrich honoring his wife. The lectures are intended to contribute to the intellectual life of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences and to provide the public with new and provocative ideas, stimulating thought about possible solutions to educational problems in the United States.

*Note: There was not a lecture in 2018.