BUIES CREEK — In saying “good bye” to his longtime friend and right-hand man Wednesday, Campbell President Jerry Wallace reminisced about a side of Dwaine Greene many of his friends aren’t aware of.
His “mountain man” persona.
Twelve years ago, Wallace and then-President Norman A. Wiggins tried to recruit Greene, who at the time was the provost and dean of faculty at Lees-McRae College, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Wallace drove west to interview his former student (Greene was a 1979 graduate of Campbell), and was surprised when Greene met him at a barbecue restaurant sporting a “full, wooly beard.”
The interview went well, and Wallace’s report to Wiggins back in Buies Creek was shining. He ended that report with a warning to Wiggins, who even in the early 21st Century would raise an eyebrow to such a fashion statement from someone on his faculty, much less a dean or potential provost.
Despite the beard — which he kept for his initial visit with Wiggins — Greene was the runaway choice to become Campbell’s provost and vice president for academic affairs in 2001. But between the interview and his first day on the job, the beard disappeared for good.
“I didn’t want to shave it off, and Dr. Wiggins never asked me to shave it off,” Greene recalled Wednesday. “But we all knew it had to go.”
The story was one of the lighter moments on an otherwise bittersweet day at Marshbanks Hall as Greene received the J.A. Campbell Meritorious Service Award in a ceremony attended by his wife Carolyn, Campbell administration and trustees, deans and several faculty and staff. The day was one of Greene’s last on campus before he assumes the role as president of Georgetown College in Kentucky next month.
Fighting back tears, Greene said he was honored to receive the award and honored to serve Campbell for the past 12 years.
“I’ve made so many great friendships here … I do treasure all of you so very much,” he said. “It wasn’t my intention to leave, but then again, I’d never intended to leave the mountains either.”
A native of Watauga County, Greene came to Campbell in the mid-70s to study religion and play baseball. He went on to receive his master’s degree from Wake Forest University and his Ph.D. in New Testament and early Christianity from the University of Virginia. He was the chairman of Chowan College’s Department of Religion and Philosphy from 1986 to 1990 before spending 11 years at Lees-McRae as a religion professor, department chairman, provost and dean and one-time interim president.
Both of his daughters, Patricia and Meredith, received undergraduate degrees from Campbell/ Patricia is currently pursuing a career in ministry, while Meredith is pursuing a doctorate in molecular medicine at Wake Forest.
“I don’t know of anybody who qualifies more for the J.A. Campbell Meritorious Service Award than Dwaine Greene,” Wallace said. “We’re proud of him because of his inherent goodness and the way of life he brought to Campbell. He led us through several difficult accreditations during his time here, and he was not only my neighbor here, but my right-hand man. He certainly has a special place in all of our hearts, and we wish him well.”
By Billy Liggett, Photo by Bennett Scarborough