Low Plaza

Jerome Greene Foundation Gives Law School $12 Million

By Jennifer Shotz

Artist Michael Shane Neal stands next to his recently unveiled portrait of the late Jerome L. Greene, as Greene's widow, Dawn, looks on.

Columbia Law School has received a $12-million gift from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation to fully renovate and upgrade classrooms and implement leading technology in Jerome L. Greene Hall, at W. 116th St. and Amsterdam Avenue.

Law School Dean David W. Leebron announced the gift on Nov. 9 at the unveiling of the official portrait of Greene, a prominent New Yorker and an alumnus, friend and benefactor of the School. His portrait will hang permanently in the building that bears his name.

"Jerry Greene saw the Law School as more than just a place of higher education. For him, it was a total experience, connected with art, law and the city," said Leebron. With this gift, the Law School will implement progressive classroom technology that will alter how students learn, including: immediate access to online legal research and course Web sites at each seat, interactive classrooms for enhanced student-teacher dialogue, and "push-to-talk" microphone and multiple-camera technology to facilitate real-time relationships via teleconferencing with the legal community around the world. In addition, a media control center will be built for faster and more easily managed interconnectivity among Law School classrooms and remote locations.

Greene, CC'26 and Law'28, was a lawyer who turned to philanthropy after making his fortune in real estate. Greene served as a trustee of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Juilliard School and WNET/Channel 13. He improved health care with gifts for the Jerome L. and Dawn Greene Medical Arts Pavilion and the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center.

An avid art collector, Greene owned works by Klee and Munch and donated several prints to Columbia Law School. His widow, Dawn Greene, recently gave the School a gouache by Alexander Calder called "Optics (D-70)" (1970).

In his role as humanitarian and philanthropist, Greene was an especially great friend to Columbia Law School. In addition to his generous gifts for financial aid and building projects, he served as a counselor to several deans and an unswerving advocate for the School until his death in 1999.

At the portrait unveiling, President George Rupp added that Greene, "has assumed his rightful place among towering figures in the history of the Law School."

The Greene portrait was painted by Michael Shane Neal, who recently received the First Place Award in the Portrait Society of America's International Portrait Competition.

Neal is currently under the tutelage of the nation's foremost presidential portraitist, Everett Raymond Kinstler. Neal's commissioned portraits include corporate and civic leaders, college presidents, doctors and hospital administrators. Recent subjects include former U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana and Whitney MacMillan, chairman and CEO of the Cargill Corporation, the world's largest privately operated company.

Published: Nov 21, 2000
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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