Honoree Year: 2015
The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Business
Area of Impact:
John Goolsby joined the Howard Hughes Corporation in 1980 as vice president of real estate. During his time at the company, he took on increasingly greater leadership roles, and in 1988 he became president and member of the board of directors and was shortly thereafter named chief executive officer. Goolsby directed the transition of the company from one involved in many diverse businesses owned by Howard Hughes to a focused real estate investment and development company that became widely respected throughout North America.
When Goolsby first arrived at the Howard Hughes Corporation, the company was somewhat in disarray and facing significant financial challenges following the death of Howard Hughes. Goolsby brought with him a reputation for extensive expertise in the real estate field as well as strong ethical standards. Goolsby successfully led a restructuring of the company, reinstated financial viability, restored sound ethical business practices, and created a system whereby the legitimate heirs could eventually realize a financial gain. He is widely recognized as having done an outstanding job and is highly respected throughout the industry.
During Goolsby's tenure as CEO, the Howard Hughes Corporation was the first corporate donor to the Clark County Public Education Foundation. Many contributions and notable changes were made that affected students in Clark County. The corporation was responsible for the technology enhancements for Clark County schools, the launching of the 1994 Stars for Children campaign, and numerous television public awareness campaigns that benefitted youth. The company’s Youth Leadership Development Grant benefited the southwest region by supporitng school-based initiatives promoting educational excellence and family involvement. John and Judy Goolsby are the proud namesakes of Goolsby Elementary School.
John Goolsby traces his achievements in the corporate world to the solid foundation he received as a University of Texas Arlington student in the early 1960s: “Whatever successes that I accomplished during my business career started with the education that I received at UTA.” When Goolsby (’64) had the chance to give back to his alma mater, he didn’t hesitate. In 2003, an anonymous donor funded a 2 million USD gift—at the time, the largest in UT Arlington history—in honor of Goolsby and his wife, Judy, to establish the Goolsby Leadership Academy and Goolsby Distinguished Professorships in the College of Business.
Goolsby has served on UTA's development board and is a member of the UT System Chancellor's Council. He also serves on the College of Business Advisory Council. He is a lifetime member of the UTA Alumni Association and is recognized as a member of the Carlisle Society. He was also named a UTA Distinguished Business Leader in 1994 and a UTA Distinguished Alumnus in 1998.
In addition to his work at the Howard Hughes Corporation and his service at UT Arlington, Goolsby has also served in executive leadership positions for numerous companies. He holds a BBA from The University of Texas at Arlington and is a Certified Public Accountant.