Roe Green is an arts patron, community activist and philanthropist. She’s also known as a great friend to the School of Law at Case Western Reserve University.
Green, chief executive officer of the Roe Green Foundation, is donating $500,000 to renovate and reconceptualize the student center at the law school.
Green has deep roots at the university. Her father was federal district Judge Ben C. Green (LAW ’30)—among the most distinguished graduates of the law school—who passed away in 1983. In 1999, the Green family established the chaired professorship in his name now held by Jessie Hill, one of the School of Law’s most accomplished professors.
In 2006, the law school unveiled its completely renovated Judge Ben C. Green Library, made possible by another generous gift from Green in honor of her father. Now, down the hall from the library, Green’s generosity will make possible “Ben’s Place,” a reimagined student center and events space featuring a giant media panel.
The law school’s student center, currently known as “Blackacre”—named for the fictional property in property law hypotheticals—was last renovated decades ago.
“The student center is one of our most important spaces,” said Jessica Berg, co-dean of the law school. “We use it for events and the students eat, study, and socialize there. We recently upgraded our student café, but the rest of the space was showing its age.”
Michael Scharf, co-dean of the law school, said work on the project is expected to be finished next summer.
“Roe is not just a great supporter, she’s a great friend, who we see regularly,” Scharf said. “We were discussing the student center with her over dinner, and she volunteered to underwrite the renovations to transform the space into something our students, faculty and alumni would love.”
Green has been an award-winning ballroom dancer, stage manager for the Singing Angels and Cleveland Opera, a theater producer, a community activist, a philanthropist and now a university trustee.
Because of her generous support, Green has been referred to as the “fairy godmother to the arts,” having made inspiring gifts to build the Case Western Reserve and the Kent State University performing arts centers and to her alma mater—the University of Colorado—for an endowed chair in theater.
Green describes her philosophy of giving using a fruit metaphor: “I have five oranges” she said. “I eat one. I save one. And I give the other three away. That is just the way I live my life.”
But the School of Law has a special place in Green’s heart, she said. “I’m involved in over 22 organizations, but I care very deeply about the law school and appreciate the way it has paid tribute to the legacy of my dad,” she said. “He was a very special man. There are a few words that jump to mind— integrity, honesty and fairness. He had a great sense of humor. And he was humble and caring.”
Ben’s Place is a much less formal name than the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library down the hall. “My Dad would have gotten a real kick out of that,” Green said. “The law students see the formal picture of him in the library, but this was also an important side of him. And that name really captures that. It’s a warm name for a warm man.”
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