Over 100 years after the founding of the Caney Creek Community Center, educators are still arriving on Caney Creek from all over the world to fulfill Mrs. Lloyd’s mission to educate the leaders of the Appalachian region. One such professor is Dr. Sigrid Greene, whose career and commitment to education has taken her across the globe, from Europe to Pippa Passes. Dr. Greene was born in North-Rheine Westphalia, Germany, but throughout her life, she has walked the Purpose Road. She says, “My parents were teachers, so our house was always full of books. I read everything I could get my hands on. In fact, I often read until there was nothing left on the shelves to read. Of course, then we had to get more.” This voracious appetite for knowledge is part of what Dr. Greene credits her success with.
Dr. Greene attended undergrad at Osnabrueck University in Lower-Saxony, Germany. She recalls that, as a financial necessity, she began renting a room from a family that lived near the university. “I was a teenager then, so my routine after classes was limited to running up to my room and closing the door. I probably would’ve done that at home, so I didn’t care to rent from another family. It was a valuable learning experience about getting along with people who aren’t your family in a shared living situation,” she says. However, as time went on, she came to think of these people as family and continues to keep in touch with them to this day.
At Osnabrueck, Dr. Greene was one of only three girls in her physics program. During this time, she first gained confidence in both public speaking and research when a professor “called her out” to speak on physics. With a vote of confidence and test of will, Dr. Greene propelled into a Diplom Program, which is similar to an MA, at the University of Hawaii at Maui. In Hawaii, she met her husband of almost 20 years, Dr. Patrick Greene, who is also a professor at ALC. Together they have two children, twelve-year-old Isabel and seven-year-old Alexander.
To begin with, Dr. Greene taught physics at the University of Texas at San Antonio and she lived in San Diego, California, for a while before coming to Pippa Passes. On arriving in Eastern Kentucky, she says, “I was immediately captivated by the region’s natural beauty. It’s a lot to take in. Sometimes I wonder why people in Appalachia aren’t prouder of where they are from. The lakes and mountains in this region are breathtaking.”
In addition to research in the field of physics, Dr. Greene is something of a historian and considers reading one of her primary hobbies. However, when she just wants to relax, she makes sure to choose something fun. She says, “I like romances because I know how they’re going to end – happily, for the most part. I like Tom Clancy, too. I enjoy all the old mysteries where the focus is on the mystery itself and not excessive violence. Sometimes it’s nice to just read a good story.”
Currently, Dr. Greene contributes to Alice Lloyd’s story and the institution Mrs. Lloyd founded by putting her whole heart into educating Appalachian students. She talks about her role as a professor by saying, “My career as an educator is not about my own curiosity, but about encouraging young minds to see that wonder in the physical world around them for themselves. Dedication to service, whether to God, to one’s community, in the classroom, or wherever is a value that transcends languages and time.” Dr. Greene’s unwavering love of education and her encouragement of young minds to reach for the very best in themselves echo the teachings set forth by Mrs. Lloyd and the Purpose Road Philosophy, which continues to guide the College and students in the 21st century.