VA Supreme Court Justice set to speak at Commencement

Who is speaking at VWU’s 2022 Commencement? 

The Commencement speaker will be S. Bernard Goodwyn, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2007 by then-Governor Tim Kaine and was named Chief Justice on January 1, 2022. Prior to appointment on the Supreme Court, he served as a circuit court judge for ten years and as a general district court judge for two years, both in Chesapeake, Virginia. Prior to his service on the bench, Chief Justice Goodwyn was in private law practice and served on the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Law. He has served on numerous statewide commissions and committees, and he is presently the co-chair of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission. 

A Southampton County native, Chief Justice Goodwyn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in economics and was a member of the Harvard varsity football and track teams. Chief Justice Goodwyn received his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was an editor for the Virginia Tax Review, a member of the Raven Society and a recipient of the Ritter Award for honor, character and integrity. 


How was the 2022 Commencement speaker decided?

We chose Chief Justice Goodwyn because of his position and prominence in the Commonwealth of Virginia and because of his relationship with Virginia Wesleyan. He is married to Sharon S. Goodwyn, an attorney at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and a member of the Virginia Wesleyan Board of Trustees. As such, Chief Justice Goodwyn has a natural relationship to our University and can use his knowledge of our institution and the student body to tailor a thoughtful and impactful keynote speech for the Class of 2022. 


When and where will Commencement be?

Commencement will take place on Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 a.m. It will be outside of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center on the University Commons lawn, if weather permits. If not, it will be in TowneBank Arena of the Jane P. Batten Student Center. The University will make the final decision about its location based on weather forecasts the Wednesday before Commencement Saturday.