In Memoriam ~ Professor Robert H. Greene
We are sad to announce that Dr. Robert H. Greene, professor and longtime chair of the University of Montana History Department, passed away on Friday, December 18th, 2020. Robert was an outstanding scholar of Russian and Soviet History and a beloved teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend. This is a devastating loss for our department and community.
Professor Greene joined the History Department in 2006 after earning his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 2004. At UM, Robert taught extremely popular courses in Russian, Soviet, and East European history as well as the history of Western Civilization. He worked closely with graduate students and advanced undergraduates, advising research projects in imperial and Soviet-era Russian history as well as European, cultural, and religious history more broadly. Robert also regularly filled rooms to capacity in courses taught through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UM (MOLLI), which recently featured him in their newsletter. In 2012, his exemplary teaching was honored with the UM College of Arts and Sciences' Cox Family Award for Teaching Excellence.
Robert's research focused on the religious, cultural, and political history of the Russian Empire and Soviet state. His highly regarded first monograph, Bodies Like Bright Stars, studied Russian Orthodox devotion to saints and relics in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. His other publications explore issues at the intersection of religion, culture, and society: pilgrimage patterns, canonization policy, Jewish integration, and the political deployment of sacred symbols. They include The Story of a Life: Memoirs of a Young Jewish Woman in the Russian Empire (co-edited with Eugene M. Avrutin) and Orthodox Russia: Belief and Practice Under the Tsars (co-edited with Valerie A. Kivelson).
Professor Greene served as Chair of the History Department from 2013-2019. He was a longtime co-director of the Russian Studies Program at the University of Montana and a faculty affiliate and member of the advisory council of the Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center. Robert was an invaluable leader at the University of Montana, widely respected by peers and students alike. He will be missed.
Honoring Professor Greene
The History Department has been touched by those who would like to honor Robert with a gift to the department in his name. Gifts can be made through our "Supporting UM History" web page or by check made payable to The University of Montana Foundation and noted for a gift for the History Department's Robert H. Greene Memorial Fund. Checks should be mailed to the UM Foundation, P.O. Box 7159, Missoula, MT, 59807-7159. Should you have any questions, please contact Professor Kyle G. Volk, chair of the History Department.
Video: Watch Professor Greene's charge to graduating History majors in spring 2020
Video: Explore our tribute video, which documents parts of Robert's life
Remembering Professor Greene
Reflecting on Robert's Life and Work
An obituary for Professor Greene appeared in The Missoulian on December 30, 2020.
To share your memories and read those of others, please visit our department's Facebook page.
Below we share reflections and other notices of Professor Greene's passing. If you would like your reflections posted here, please send them by email to Professor Kyle Volk.
- "A Body Like a Bright Star: Remembering Robert Greene," by Ronan Kennedy, University of Montana, Class of 2019 (December 2020).
- Jim Hamilton of Florence, Montana, comments on Robert's teaching in The Missoulian, January 1, 2021.
- "Scholar, mentor and friend: Robert Greene, 1975-2020," by Meghan Jonas, published in the Montana Kaimin, January 19, 2021.
- "University of Montana must hire historian of Russia," by Pat O'Connor, published in The Missoulian, January 22, 2021.
- Rebecca Chatham-Vazquez, a former UM student, remembers Dr. Greene (September 2021).
- Julie Ammons, a former student, remembers Robert Greene (September 2021).
Online Memorial ~ January 17, 2021
On Sunday, January 17, 2021, colleagues, former students, and friends assembled virtually to remember and pay tribute to Professor Greene. View the memorial gathering here:
In-Person Memorial ~ September 30, 2021
The History Department hosted an in-person memorial to honor Professor Greene on Thursday, September 30th in the tented outdoor space adjacent to Corbin Hall.