J. Philip Goldberg was born in Baltimore, MD, on June 21, 1930. He attended high school at The Baltimore City College, graduating in 1948. He then studied at the University of Maryland, graduating with a BS in business administration in 1952. After service in the U.S. Army, he went on to receive a PhD in English and became an instructor at the University of Maryland, where he taught for one year. He spent the following year as an assistant professor at St. Cloud State College in Minnesota before beginning a 25-year career at Gallaudet University, first as an associate professor then as a full professor. He retired from Gallaudet University in 1990.