Greene Hall in East Quad is named for Professor Charles Ezra Greene, former professor and Dean of the School of Engineering from 1895 until his death in 1903. Professor Greene was from an older generation of professors who brought strict discipline to university instruction – a civil war solider and Harvard educated engineer, his austere presence garnered respect from his students and peers. Upon Professor Greene’s death in 1903, President Angell honored his memory and gave an insight onto the role he played in the lives of his students:
When Professor Greene, with his quiet reticent, undemonstrative temperament, succeeded to Professor Wood's chair, it required a little time for the students to appreciate his merits. But they came after a while to understand that this unassuming man had much to teach them, and that he was the sincere friend of every student who wished to do his duty. If he had a little of the military strictness in requiring full work of every man, they all learned that he held himself to the same fidelity in giving them the most helpful and thorough instruction. The success of his pupils in responsible posts is the proof of the value of his services to them, and from all parts of the land have come from those pupils grateful acknowledgments of their indebtedness to him and of their appreciation of him.
-- President James B. Angell 1904
Professor Greene’s role as Dean helped establish the University of Michigan was one of the top programs for engineering in the nation. However, the ironies of such a strict and disciplined man bearing the name of the study lounge that is widely known as the hub of procrastination and all-nighters has not been lost on the student body:
Best memory(s): Every single east quad special dinner, every time I find Mike Perles studying in the Greene Lounge at 2 in the morning, every time I've wondered aloud as to what Charles Ezra Greene, the engineer, would think of a bunch of RC liberal arts kids hanging out in a room that bears his namesake, the 4th Tygre Lounge (the place to be at 3 in the morning once you realize that Greene Lounge has nothing left to offer), John Coats, Evening of Scenes and everything it stands for… both times someone set off the fire alarm this year and everyone in EQ had to wait on Willard street, Emily Pittinos' yarn in Greene Lounge, A03, Spanish lunch tables…
--Jacob Axelrad Class of 2014
I was a freshman in Greene House in 1962, before the Residential College began. But...we were all part of an experiment that evolved into RC in some ways. Everyone living at Greene House was encouraged to enroll in the same sections of some popular frosh classes. Faculty who taught these and their families were invited to dinner and after-dinner dialogue in the lounge on a regular basis. As a result, I got to know my English and philosophy professors very well.
-- Don Rothman (Class of 1966)