For the Love of the Classroom
Ascending the spiral staircase that leads to the winding, narrow hallways of Frost Hall’s third floor, you would think that Dr. Roger Green is Gordon’s best kept secret. He may, in fact, be one of Gordon’s best-known legacies. Overlooking the Gordon Woods from his tucked-away office, Boston-born Dr. Green, professor of biblical and theological studies, prepares for his last semester of classes in Gordon’s Department of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries.
To finish up, he’s teaching two of his favorites: American Christianity and the theology Core course. He says it’s a “nice way to end my vocation,” but is quick to reflect on how much he will miss one of his favorite aspects of teaching—the classroom. “I love the dynamics of the classroom. You never know what the day will bring. Sometimes we have funny occasions,” he says. “I’ll still know students and colleagues—but the classroom I won’t have, and there are a lot of wonderful memories there.”
Dr. Green has been teaching for 46 years, 31 of those at Gordon. Even with nearly 100 semesters under his belt, he still says with palpable passion, “I love it when I teach a course for a first time.”
Outside of his beloved classroom, he says, “One of the things I loved were the field trips. Those were great experiences, to be in Boston, with my students reliving history.” As part of his American Christianity course, Dr. Green brings students to the Museum of African American History, historic Beacon Hill, the Christian Science Church, Trinity Church, and several other sites that illustrate various stages in American Christianity.
Although Dr. Green is retiring, his legacy of faith in action remains. Not only does he teach the Bible but he reads it, writes about it, and puts it into action all over the world as a leading member and scholar of the Salvation Army. If there is one thing he wants students to remember generations after he’s gone, he says it would be “Matthew 22: Love God and love your neighbor.”
He elaborates, “To me that is the essence of what the Christian life is all about, loving God with our whole being and your neighbor as yourself. Loving God with our minds—I’d like to see students exemplify that. We all have the vocation to be a student; the demands of that vocation are to study and work as hard as you can.”
It is no surprise that Dr. Green has already lined up plans for his retirement (and it isn’t playing golf). For starters, he will lead Gordon’s eighteenth Holy Land Pilgrimage. “Dr. Marv Wilson brought me into the leadership of these pilgrimages many years ago. My wife, Karen, and I now lead these pilgrimages for alumni, pastors and members of their congregations, and friends of the College. Throughout the years we have had several faculty, staff and administrators go on the pilgrimage as well, and occasionally members of the Board of Trustees have joined us.”
Drs. Wilson and Green share a long history. After earning his degrees at Temple University, Asbury College and Princeton, Dr. Green was hired by Dr. Wilson to teach at Barrington College in Rhode Island. When Barrington merged with Gordon in 1985, Dr. Green was one of only a handful of faculty members invited to Gordon. Three decades later, he will be the final faculty member from the merger to retire.
To use his own words—from all of us at Gordon, Dr. Green, “bless your heart.”