Dr. Avery Goldstein, CLAS ‘88

Coming from a long line of Wayne State graduates, Dr. Avery Goldstein, CLAS ‘88, chose Wayne State University because of its excellent chemistry department as well as its offerings in athletics. 

Goldstein’s mother and sisters both attended the university, and his grandfather attended Central High School — which is now Old Main. But the academics and the research opportunities finalized his decision to attend.

“My original interest in the university came when I chose Wayne State over Yale and Michigan State University,” Goldstein says. “I knew I wanted to study chemistry, and they had a great chemistry department. Also, I was a competitive fencer, and they had one of the best fencing programs in the country. I fenced foil.”

With the fencing team winning the NCAA championship in 1984, Goldstein excelled both in and out of the classroom. For fencing, he even had one of the top foil victories of all time. The bonding experience of living with the fencing team on campus provided Goldstein with a sense of community that enriched his time at Wayne State.

“That was an extraordinary experience, and there was a mix of people from all over the world,” Goldstein remembers. “Practice was also so much harder than the competitions. It was a work hard, play hard kind of environment.” 

Working hard as duo chemistry-biological science major, Goldstein appreciated the efforts of professors at the university. He especially remembered Stanley Kirschner, a professor of inorganic chemistry at the time, and the advisors in his program. 

“Those chemistry classes really did well to me. My undergraduate research advisor really went above and beyond the call to make sure that I was well-groomed for grad school and on a path for success too,” Goldstein says. “I also enjoyed my out-of-major classes. Martin Herman, who taught an introduction to opera class, really had a profound impact on my life.”

Goldstein later attended University of California, Berkeley, for his doctorate, but he discovered something surprising there.

“I learned that Wayne State had given me a lot more opportunity to do research as an undergraduate than other schools do,” Goldstein says. “My peers who went to schools that are, on the surface, more prestigious, may have had better course offerings, but they didn’t have the same degree of research experience and exposure that I had.” 

Goldstein left California to work for The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan, but he realized the corporate structure was not ideal. Taking to patent law, Goldstein decided to go back to Wayne State to attend law school. 

“It was a few years removed, but law school was very straightforward,” says Goldstein. “Academically, they spent a lot of time teaching you Euclidean logic and thinking, which is such a huge part of science that you take it for granted. It wasn’t difficult for me.” 

He worked at an intellectual property firm for 15 years before starting Blue Filament, his own firm. At Blue Filament, he helps people secure patents and trademarks, which uses his technical experience more than his legal background. His partner at the firm even attended law school with him at Wayne State. 

“At Wayne State, to take a full course load, fence and keep everything in balance, you had to be really efficient with time,” Goldstein says. “You learn to balance life in a way that people at a lot of residential universities do not. It’s really helped me in my life.” 

His advice to current students? “Don’t waste a minute of it. You get out of your education what you put into it. Also, make sure that you get out and have plenty of fun. You can sleep later.” 

By Ki Lee O'Brien, CLAS alumni writer