He was very proud to be Master of University College between 1976 and 1986 and developed a deep respect for academic life there. Even after his retirement from the Mastership, he continued to visit Oxford, where he had bought a house, most weekends until 1993. He undertook the difficult role of Head of College with great skill, gently directing, delegating with mastery and fund-raising with enormous success. He trusted the governing body to manage the College business while he presided over it as one of the most experienced chairmen in Britain.
While Goodman was enormously impressed by the hard work of the academics in the university - he called them ascetics who worked long hours for low financial reward - he also retained sufficiently the eye of the outsider to be able to view their antics and long discussions over the running of the college with objectivity and humour. When one don objected to another being indecent enough to turn up for a small meeting without his full academic dress, he looked round those assembled and remarked, "I don't see anyone naked here."