Jay Goldman, ’66 and ’79
On January 25th, friends and family of Jay Goldman gathered on the third floor of Riggleman Hall to dedicate and officially name room 307 as The Jay Goldman Classroom. This honor is a gift from the City National Bank Board of Directors in recognition and gratitude for Jay’s 35 years of service to the board.
Jay, who admittedly does not welcome recognition and special honors, humbly shared his success story with us.
After Jay graduated high school, he attended West Virginia University for two years. “I was kindly advised that I wasn’t taking college seriously enough. Frankly, I flunked out.” He then returned home to Charleston.
“After WVU, I came to Morris Harvey College for an aptitude test. The admissions office thought there was some ‘redeeming value’ in me and I just might be successful here. I signed up for classes in the fall semester of 1963 and started taking college a lot more seriously.
“I had some really great professors and because the business school was small with a limited number of professors, I had the same ones for multiple subjects. I had wonderful influencers in Mac McClaughlin, Ahmad Tabbara, and Bob Landolt. I was very fortunate to receive the Wall Street Journal Award in economics. It was awarded by the professors and the prize was an annual subscription to The Wall Street Journal. I’ve kept my subscription up ever since.
“While studying at MHC in 1964, I went to work for the Beattie-Firth Real Estate Company in Charleston. I worked part time for $1.50 per hour doing whatever they wanted me to do. I learned the ins and outs of the real estate business and had two great mentors, Joe Beattie and Mac Firth.”
In 1966, Jay graduated MHC and headed back to WVU, this time for a law degree. “I had always planned to go to law school, I thought it would help in the real estate business. I was in Morgantown one year and then had a decision to make about the military. So, I spent one year in the Army and met one of my best friends who ended up in our wedding, John Barnette.” John is a current UC professor and UC Dean of the Division of Continuing and Professional Education and was on hand to help honor Jay at the recent classroom dedication.
“One day, back in law school, I overheard one of the professors talking about a gentleman who was moving from Charleston to Morgantown to be the head of the Chamber of Commerce. I thought, ‘I better call Joe Beattie and let him know, this might result in some business for him.’ Mrs. Beattie picked up my call and, in the conversation, shared that their daughter, Becky, was thinking of quitting Morris Harvey. She wondered if I could talk to Becky and counsel her out of that decision. We ended up talking, then saw each other a little more, and the next thing you know, we got married.
Becky graduated with her degree in 1968 and then went to be with Jay in Morgantown the last two years of law school. She worked as an assistant curator of the WV collection in the University library. “She’s been a wonderful wife and mother and kept me in line for the rest of my career. Talking her into staying at Morris Harvey turned out to be a blessing.
“After law school, we moved back to Charleston. We did it in West Virginia style with a pickup truck and U-Haul trailer, a little bit of money, and some aspirations. We lived with Becky’s grandmother for about six months till we bought a house, and I went back to work with her dad at Beattie-Firth Real Estate.”
Jay’s goal was to focus on commercial real estate and in 1972, he opened his own business, Goldman Associates, Inc. “I started taking classes all over the country in real estate, appraising, evaluation, brokerage, etc. At the time, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be on that track. I got a lot of professional designations and made a lot of contacts across the country which has certainly helped me in my career.”
Jay purchased the building his business is still in over fifty years ago. They have expanded the building twice as their business grew and it is still going strong. For a time, however, his career expanded beyond real estate into teaching and civic duty.
Jay returned to the Morris Harvey campus as an adjunct professor in the late 1970s and taught business law, insurance, real estate, and real estate appraisal. “I enjoyed teaching, I met some great students, I even talked to one of them from Pittsburg the other day. Those types of relationships last a lifetime. I also ended up with a second degree from UC in 1979. They only offered the real estate major for a couple of years, but I took advantage of it and earned a second degree.
“When John Hutchison was mayor of Charleston, he asked if I would like to be the clerk for the municipal court. I didn’t even know what the job entailed. At that time, there was no public defender system and when I found out I couldn’t be appointed to criminal cases, I accepted the position.
“A little later on, John Charnock decided not to run for municipal judge again, so I ran in 1975 and was elected to six terms. In 1999, I ran for and served one term as mayor – that’s been my political career. It was my opportunity to give back to the community through public service.”
In addition to Jay’s successful career, he has served on numerous non-profit boards, including the University of Charleston Board of Trustees.
“I’ve been a lucky guy and if there is anything to be learned, it is that if there are doors opened for you by other people, you need to be able to recognize when the door is open and slide in really quick, it may not be open again. I think that was true when MHC offered me a second collegiate opportunity and I took it seriously.”
“Education has been at the forefront of everything that has happened in our family. Because of education, I was able to have a successful real estate career. Now, my son and daughter are both having successful careers in the industry, too. It is so important to recognize the opportunities and take them.”