Passing: Professor Emeritus Donald Green

Friday, August 5, 2016
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Donald Green
Donald M. Green and his wife Barbara

The University of New Hampshire community mourns the loss of Donald M. Green, Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and genetics in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, who passed away Friday, July 29, 2016.

Don Green was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1930. He received a BA in zoology from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Rochester. He conducted post-doctoral research at Oak Ridge National Lab, the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University.  

At UNH, Green’s research interests focused on genetics using a range of genetic, biochemical and biophysical techniques to examine bacterial transformation and transfection. He was supported in these interests by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, and he produced several resulting publications.

Green was also interested in the behavioral genetics and learning physiology of bees, an interest that began when he was 12 years old and continued throughout his life.

Between 1974 and 1975, Green lived in Yugoslavia as the recipient of a National Academy of Science Exchange Program Fellowship. He worked at the Boris Kidric Institute for Nuclear Studies in Belgrade and spent several weeks working at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Kotor in Montenegro. His research focused on microbial genetics and biochemistry of human microsome hydroxlases. He gave talks in Sarejevo, Krakow, Basel, Groeningen and other cities during his time there.

Green started at UNH in 1967. He served as chair of genetics from 1969-71 and 1986-88, and he chaired the biochemistry department from 1985-93. He served a one-year term as program director of biochemistry at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, between 1979 and 1980.

As chair of biochemistry, Green was instrumental in obtaining and developing several junior faculty members who were active in research and teaching, including some who continue as faculty or faculty emeritus at UNH today.

In 1986, Green was the first to obtain a National Science Foundation site grant award to support undergraduate research at UNH — the “Research Experience for Undergraduates.” This grant coincided with the formation in 1987 of the University of New Hampshire Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. The grants offered undergraduates the opportunity to engage in inquiry-based research projects and were the beginning of what is today’s very robust undergraduate research program at UNH.

Green was selected by his peers to be chair of the UNH Academic Senate from 1990-1992. At the time, the senate consisted of faculty members from each department at UNH as well as undergraduates, administrators and professional staff members. Green helped guide the university’s leadership in this role.

Don lived life to the fullest and loved his family. He maintained a summer camp at Aziscohos, Maine, where he hiked, fished and canoed. He enjoyed gardening and fly-tying. He made honey from his bees and wine from his grapes, and he shared both with family and friends.

Donald Green and daughter
Don Green with his daughter Jennifer
on a birding trip in Guyana

After retiring, Green worked hard to preserve Portsmouth’s Great Bog. He loved bird watching and instilled this love in his daughter Jennifer. With her, he took nine bird watching trips to Guyana, and for five years he tagged along on a COLSA colleague’s monthly hagfishing trips to watch the ocean birds.

Green is survived by his wife Barbara, his daughters Jennifer and Heather, his son-in-law Donald Wilmes, his brother Ian and wife, Barbara, as well as the Murphy, Morehouse and Batt families and many others.

Don Green was a friend, colleague or associate to many people. His extended professional family and friends around the world join his immediate family in mourning his tragic loss. The memory of such a warm, cheerful, kind, outgoing and excellent faculty member will be treasured.