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ACU Remembers: Dr. Ina Green

By on February 10, 2020 in ACU News, ACU Remembers with 9 Comments

Dr. Ina Lynch Green (’63), professor emerita of psychology at Abilene Christian University, learned the name of every student in her classes every semester, because individuals mattered. Not only her students mattered, but the poor, widows, minorities and anyone who didn’t have status. In her research and teaching she was an advocate for exceptional children.

“She had a strong sense of social justice and compassion and empathy for everyone,” her daughter, Dr. Heather Green Wooten (’80), recalled. “That was the fundamental teaching of Jesus.”

Green died Feb. 5, 2020, in Abilene, Texas. She was 89. A family visitation is planned Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 5-7 p.m. at Piersall Funeral Directors (733 Butternut St., Abilene, Texas 79602). The funeral will be Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 1 p.m. at University Church of Christ (733 E. North 16th St., Abilene, Texas 79601), with burial at Abilene Municipal Cemetery (1133 Cottonwood St., Abilene, Texas 70601).

Ina Green’s career and retirement were marked by leaps of faith that in turn marked the lives of students for three decades, and for 11 years more in Poland, where she and her late husband, Dr. Brent Green, professor emeritus of art and design, made annual trips to work with a church in Jastrzebie. They also supported the Zambian Medical Mission for many years, and supported their son and grandson during several trips with the team. In 2007 they went themselves.

Family and colleagues describe her as ahead of her time. She was the first female professor in ACU’s Department of Psychology and the first woman elected chair of the Faculty Senate in 1980-81. The couple were the first of several to both serve on the faculty with doctorates and as full professors.

She was born March 13, 1930, in Ennis, Texas, the second child and only daughter of Bertie Wayne and Barbara Gertrude Lynch. She moved to Baytown at age 12 after her father obtained a wartime job as a pipefitter for the Exxon refinery there. Two years later she met her future husband in a high school history class.

“She had a crush on him and told him she was going to buy him a Valentine, and asked if he was going to buy her one,” her daughter recalled. He did. They started dating and were married five years later, May 29, 1949, after finishing two years at Lee College.

They moved to Austin where Brent attended The University of Texas at Austin and she began studies in costume design and textiles during the semesters they could afford for both of them to be in school. After stints in Oklahoma and El Paso, they settled in Houston, where Brent worked as a draftsman.

After visiting Abilene Christian for its Bible Lectureship, they decided, “We’re coming up here as our mission to serve God.” In that leap of faith, Brent took half the salary he’d earned in Houston and the pair moved from their three-bedroom home to a one-bedroom apartment with two small children. Ina went back to school to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1963, but her earlier studies in costume design were reflected in a lifelong fashion sense that prompted her to be the first female faculty member to wear a skirt above the knees. “Her students applauded,” Wooten recalled.

After Green finished her undergraduate degree the family moved to Ohio for graduate school. She completed her M.A. in psychology in 1965 and Ph.D. in psychology of exceptional children in 1969, both at The Ohio State University.

“That move was a leap of faith for them,” son Dr. Bill Green (’77) said. “They had never been north of Oklahoma.”

Upon returning to Abilene, she was promoted to assistant professor in 1967, associate professor in 1972 and full professor in 1978. Locally, she consulted for the West Texas Rehabilitation Center, Abilene State School, Texas Department of Human Resources and was on the board of the Rape Crisis Center, ARK of Abilene and the Taylor County Restitution Center.

She taught courses on child psychology, abnormal psychology, the emotionally disturbed child, mental retardation and exceptional children.

Dr. Stephen Allison (’76), professor and holder of the Robert and Mary Ann Hall Chair for Psychology and Intercultural Studies, was her student in the 1970s and colleague beginning in 1984 until the Greens retired, together of course, in 1998. Allison described her as “Tall, classy, funny and smart … ahead of her time. Ina Green was a role model of excellence in the classroom and Christian service in life.”

Allison said Green’s students would all attest that they had to read the material and come prepared because she gave a pop quiz every single class period. She encouraged students who were timid about applying for grad school to take a leap of faith. “She would always say, ‘God will take care of you wherever. Go to Yale!  Go wherever!’ ” son Bill said.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and her husband of 67 years. Survivors include her son, Dr. Bill Green of Kingwood and his wife, Melissa; daughter Dr. Heather Green Wooten of Kemah, Texas, and her husband, Kevin; four grandchildren, Laura “Katie” Campbell Scurfield (’05) of London, England, Audrey Campbell Derfler  of New York City, Brent Green III of College Station, Texas, and Amanda Green (’19) of Abilene, Texas. She also is survived by two brothers, Lyndon Lynch of Shawnee, Kansas, and Fred Lynch of Victoria, Texas.

Author’s note: Dr. Ina Green was honored by students in the W Club with their annual Role Model Award, given to the ACU faculty or staff member who serves as an outstanding example of Christian womanhood. She also was a willing mentor and encourager to younger women on the ACU faculty. I am grateful to have been one of those.

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  1. Avatar Vernon L. Williams says:

    I joined the ACU faculty in the fall of 1989. In those days we had our own faculty dining room in the Bean. There was a faculty group who always ate there, and Brent and Ina were two of the regulars. I remember being grateful to be among the legends, accepted as an equal into this small community of diners. I wasn’t equal, however, but one of the rookies, although already past 40 when I got there. I remember those enjoyable conversations and fondly remember the Greens whom I did not know personally at first, but I knew their names. Ina and Brent’s stories and exchanges became a regular lunch-time fare, and I look back on those early years with warm memories.

    Ina and Brent were what I call “true” teachers, people who brought more than their expertise to their classrooms. Their students left with a great deal more than the academic content in their baggage. That is the beauty of Ina and Brent and their moment in time at ACU. Their legacy lingers on and insures that they will live forever in the lives and careers of their students, who have spread out across the globe on their own teaching missions, forever changed by Ina and Brent Green. And so it goes….

  2. Avatar Emily Fallis says:

    Dr. Green was my only female professor at ACU during 1977-1981. She was a delightful, happy person who clearly loved her job teaching college students. I have quoted her remarks from Abnormal Psychology many times (including this last week, before I heard of her passing), particularly the ones about how you start thinking you fit all the diagnoses you study. I look forward to seeing her again some day. I pray her family finds great comfort in that same thought.

  3. Avatar Karan Money Sneed says:

    My condolences to Bill and Heather. I was glad to know your lovely mother and to be her student. She shared amusing things I had said, as a child, with her students. I guess she knew I would not be too embarrassed, though I did blush, regularly, upon her students’ retelling of those stories. I miss you, Dr. Green.

  4. Avatar Glenda Weatherford says:

    I worked at ACU for 28 years and my husband and son both had a class under Dr. Ina Green. Both said she was a wonderful professor. She will be missed.

  5. Avatar John Scott says:

    Dr. Green was a wonderful lady. I had her in class at ACC and later her son lived in San Antonio I would see her at church there. She was a wonderful Christian example and often invited us to her home in Abilene. Her life of service and dedication is to be admired.

  6. Avatar Jenny Nickel says:

    Dr. Green was fantastic! I’m thankful I had the chance to experience her class in the mid-90’s. Prayers to her family and friends. Go Buckeyes!
    Jenny (Dawkins) Nickel
    Westerville, Ohio

  7. Avatar David P Himes says:

    I remember her. She was great!

  8. Avatar Cara Speer says:

    When I started my university teaching career 30 years ago, I began every class with a quiz over the assigned readings for the day—- something I learned from Dr. Ina Green!

  9. Avatar Dr. Lisa Lyle Cavin says:

    Dr. Green was a huge influence for good upon me during my master’s studies at ACU in the 1980s. I studied under her in several classes as I prepared for my role as an Educational Diagnostician. She was a remarkable woman and professor. I follow her example today in my own classes as a professor at Tarleton State University as I learn the names of every student by the second day of class because students do matter. Her legacy will live on through generations of her students. My condolences to all those mourning her loss.

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