Two teachers in a science classroom play with dirt in a small wooden box used to teach kids about earthquakes.

Equipping the Next Generation

A generous gift to the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is making a huge impact.

Becoming literate in science and math is as essential for today’s college graduate as passing English 100 in the first year of college. For years, U.S. student test results in science and math performance in world-wide test comparisons have lagged behind the rest of the world’s developed countries.

Richard D. Green understands the significance of this to the nation’s competitiveness. Not only is science and math necessary to a variety of occupations, they also play significant roles in every advanced economy.

Photo of group of kids and teachers with Richard Green at a school
Richard D. Green received a warm welcome from students and teachers from the Elementary Science Learning Academy (ESLA).

That’s why the Long Beach resident is now paying it forward by helping students in elementary school through college become more competent in STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

As a teen, Green attended Long Beach’s Woodrow Wilson High School before earning a bachelor of science degree in economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After a three-year turn in the Navy, he went on to enjoy a career in finance at Chase Manhattan in New York.

Although he’s not an alumnus, Green became interested in supporting Cal State Long Beach through its President’s Scholars Program after reading about the prestigious scholarship for high school valedictorians and National Scholars in the newspaper.

His support of the university took a leap forward when in early 2015, he endowed a Professorship in Math Education within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. His generous gift also included funding for the development of STEM modules in the College of Education’s elementary teaching methods courses, and support for the Science Education Department’s Elementary Science Learning Academy, which prepares elementary school teachers to become more competent and comfortable teaching science – something particularly important in light of California’s new science standards.

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“Knowing that my gift will contribute to long-term endeavors to create a more math-and science-literate society is a source of particular satisfaction to me,” Green said.

Most recently, Green endowed the first deanship at CSULB. The Richard D. Green Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is only the third endowed deanship in the entire CSU system. It will significantly aid in the nationwide search for a new visionary dean to replace Laura Kingsford, the current Richard D. Green Dean, who steps down at the end of this academic year. Green said his goal in funding the Deanship is to enhance the position of the college in fulfilling its essential educational mission.

“Individuals like Richard Green understand the difference they can make in helping us achieve our mission and goals for the success of our faculty and students,” said Kingsford. “In the case of the endowed deanship, this provides a gift that gives the dean discretionary funds, something hard to come by in a state-funded institution, to support high priority initiatives to educate new scientists and mathematicians.”

“I’ve known Dick for a few years now and have the greatest respect and admiration for him, so I am deeply touched that he would endow the dean position.”

In addition to the endowed deanship, Green has also created the Richard D. Green Graduate Fellowship endowment to attract highly competitive graduate students to the college. With outstanding faculty and graduate programs, the college is trying to attract more top-notch students, but often loses out. Many applicants want to come to CSULB, but are offered scholarships and fellowships at other institutions and choose to go there instead. As the college does not have Ph.D. programs, it is extremely important for the faculty that they bring in high caliber master’s level students who become part of their research teams, publish with them, and earn degrees at CSULB, Kingsford said.

“Individuals like Richard Green understand the difference they can make in helping us achieve our mission and goals for the success of our faculty and students. In the case of the endowed deanship, this provides a gift that gives the dean discretionary funds, something hard to come by in a state-funded institution, to support high priority initiatives to educate new scientists and mathematicians.”

Fellowships and the prestige that comes with them help make the college’s programs competitive with those at other institutions and allow them to be able to attract the best students.

“It is amazing and gratifying to see how one individual can have such an impact on all that we do in the college and beyond,” said Kingsford.

When he’s not helping students and future teachers, Green, who has a great appreciation for the arts, enjoys attending theater and music performances, including events at the Carpenter Center and music performances by students in The Cole Conservatory. He also makes a point of meeting with each recipient of his endowed President’s Scholarship in STEM, and over the summer, had the opportunity to visit teachers from surrounding areas taking advantage of the Elementary Science Learning Academy his gift supports.