Remembering Greg Dees

read the latest updates for Greg Dees

Beth Anderson , 2/20/2014 6:59:52 PM UTC

A group of Greg's friends and colleagues have come together with The Skoll Foundation to plan a west coast memorial service for Greg at Stanford on March 7th.  All who knew and loved Greg are welcome.  

Basic event details are below, and you can find the invite and place to RSVP here:

If you plan to attend, please do RSVP as the room has a maximum capacity of 100. 
Memorial Service and Reception for Greg Dees
Friday afternoon, March 7 @ 2:30-4:30 PM

The Stanford Faculty Club
439 Lagunita Dr 
Stanford, CA 94305

A short memorial program followed by a reception with food and drinks.


There are no comments · Add a comment
Beth Anderson , 2/17/2014 11:06:52 PM UTC

On February 11, 2014, despite inclement weather that disrupted the travel plans of many, several of Greg’s friends, family, and current and former students and colleagues gathered at Duke to celebrate his life and honor his legacy.  The events were co-hosted by Duke’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) and Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative with the goal of providing an opportunity for reflections, personal remembrances, and mourning, as well as a forum for discussing Greg’s work and looking to the future.  Together, we celebrated Greg as not only the pioneering “father of social entrepreneurship education” whose ideas and efforts helped define the field, but as the friend, mentor, and teacher he was to so many near and far. 

For those unable to attend, we invite you to take part in remembering and celebrating Greg through the memorial event documents shared below (videos forthcoming), by continuing to share your own stories and read those of others here on the memorial website, by making a memorial contribution in his honor, or by participating in an independent, volunteer effort to develop an initiative to honor Greg’s legacy.   Additional information below.

Greg Dees Memorial Event at CASE, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

Full event video and tributes to be posted by end of week

Event Program

Closing Slideshow: In Memory of Greg Dees – Teacher. Mentor. Friend.

Greg Dees Memorial Service at Goodson Chapel, Duke Divinity School
(dropbox folder with all files)

Event Program and Program Insert

Selections from The Second Book of the Tao read by Matt Nash

Eulogy by Ed Skloot

Remarks read by Greg Jones on behalf of Duke President Richard Brodhead

Reflections by Beth Anderson

Contributing to Greg’s Legacy

Share personal memories of Greg at

Make a memorial contribution in Greg’s honor to the “Greg Dees Memorial Fund” at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke ( or to the Mountain Association for Economic Development (MACED) in Berea, KY ( 

Honor Greg’s legacy by joining a volunteer group of Greg's friends and colleagues who are coordinating an initiative in his honor. Questions or interested in joining the effort? Contact Cheryl Dahle at

There are no comments · Add a comment
Beth Anderson , 2/10/2014 11:05:03 PM UTC

Despite another predicted round of "wintry weather" in the Southeast, Duke will be hosting the memorial events for Greg tomorrow - Tuesday, Feb. 11th - as planned.  Details for those able to attend are below, and any weather-related updates or changes will be posted here as well.


For the many friends of Greg unable to join in person, the afternoon "Toward an Open-Solution Society" event will be available via webcast.  A link for the live event will appear starting at ~4:00 pm. ET if you go to Fuqua’s youtube page (


“Toward an Open-Solution Society”
4:15 – 6:00 pm

Geneen Auditorium, Fuqua School of Business (directions)

(for anyone arriving early, we have reserved Faculty Hall at Fuqua where all guests can gather (from noon onwards) to have a place to work, share stories, etc.  Download Fuqua map here).  


Memorial Service and Reception

6:30 – 7:30 Reception (Divinity Café)

7:30 – 8:30 Memorial Service (Goodson Chapel)

Duke Divinity School (directions)



·         For those attending the Fuqua portion of the event: The Science Drive Visitors lot will be available to guests free of charge during the hours of 3:00 – 6:00 pm.  Please let the parking attendant know that you are parking for the Dees memorial event. 

·         For guests attending both the Fuqua and Divinity School events:  We will have shuttle buses running continuously between Fuqua and the Divinity School from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

·         For those attending only the events at the Divinity School:  Pay parking will be available in the Bryan Center parking deck

·         Additional Duke parking information here.


There are no comments · Add a comment
Beth Anderson , 1/23/2014 5:46:02 PM UTC

Celebrating Greg Dees  


Thank you to the entire social entrepreneurship community for the outpouring of support and sharing of memories since Greg Dees’ passing in late December. We have also received many questions about whether there would be an opportunity to come together and celebrate Greg's life and legacy.


So, in honor of our dear friend and colleague Greg Dees, the Duke community will be hosting a memorial event and service on Tuesday, February 11th.  Details are below.


All portions of the evening are open to the public. Join us for one or all events. Please forward to others that might want to attend and RSVP here.     

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


"Toward an Open-Solution Society"

4:15 – 6:00 pm

Geneen Auditorium, Fuqua School of Business(directions)

Several thought leaders and friends of Greg (including best-selling author David Bornstein and Bridgespan co-founder Tom Tierney) will discuss Greg’s most recent work around the need for an "Open-Solution Society" and the associated questions and implications for the field. There was nothing that Greg enjoyed more than posing provocative questions and debating the answers with colleagues, and we look forward to honoring both his ideas and his spirit through this open forum discussion.


Memorial Service and Reception

6:30 – 7:30 pm Reception

7:30 – 8:30 pm Service

Goodson Chapel, Duke Divinity School (directions)
The memorial service will take place in the Divinity School Chapel and will include music and personal reflections from a few of Greg's friends and colleagues.


We hope that you can join us on February 11th to celebrate Greg's life and reflect on the impact that he has had on so many. 


RSVP?: here

Recommended hotels near Duke: here 




SBSI Conference on Feb 12th   


Anyone interested is also welcome to attend the 2014 Duke Sustainable Business & Social Impact (SBSI) Conference at Fuqua the following day, Wednesday, February 12th.  The theme for this year is "Shaping the Future Through Innovation," certainly a topic near and dear to Greg's heart.


What: SBSI conference featuring Seth Goldman, TeoEO of Honest Tea

When: Wednesday, February 12th from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Where: Fuqua School of Business

RSVP and More Info:

Beth Anderson , 1/21/2014 1:56:48 PM UTC

On Tuesday, February 11th, the Fuqua School of Business and Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) will be hosting a late afternoon event in Greg's honor before an evening memorial service at Duke's Divinity School Chapel.  Details will be forthcoming later this week.  Anyone interested is also welcome and encouraged to attend the 2014 Duke Sustainable Business & Social Impact (SBSI) Conference at Fuqua the following day, Wednesday, February 12th.  The theme for this year is "Shaping the Future Through Innovation," certainly a topic near and dear to Greg's heart.

On behalf of Duke, Fuqua, and CASE, we hope anyone who is able will join us in celebrating and honoring Greg's life and legacy.  Please save the date and spread the word!

Beth Anderson , 12/28/2013 2:24:51 PM UTC

While I am still struggling to put into words my remembrances of Greg, I and I know many, many others have been deeply moved by - and at times smiled at and repeatedly nodded in agreement with - the many tributes to Greg posted here.  Thank you all for sharing.

There have also been several memorials to Greg written by others; I have inserted links to those I have seen on the "Links" section to the left.  And with his permission, I am sharing below a beautiful poem written by Greg's dear friend Don Harker.  Don is too bashful, and just like Greg too humble, to share publicly himself, but I thought it captured the essence of Greg so wonderfully and have taken comfort in it myself and I imagine many of you will as well.  Thank you Don.

Greg's family hosted a private memorial service for him in Cincinnati on Thursday, and after the new year, we will be sharing more information on plans for a public memorial service at Duke.  Until then, may we all continue to take solace in the memories we share of the remarkable man who touched the lives and work of so many.

An Unselfish Soul


You Harvard business boys are so smart.

Why don't you roll up your sleeves and

Get in the trenches of Appalachia

Where the work is anthracite hard.

No mushy theory or bending student minds

Or get rich quick schemes here.

Who would slip out of their pin stripes and

Slide from the plush leather couches of

Harvard’s inner sanctum for such service?

Greg Dees. I will tell you who!

Gently carrying his ethical message

Of a fair and flourishing world

On his rolled up sleeves,

Up and down Kentucky hollers,

Echoing through hallowed University halls

In closed Davos meetings where

Only money speaks to power.

He moved the mighty to take up

His speech that good must be done

As part of our business in the world.

His generosity with friends, and family and students

And colleagues and strangers inspired each

Of us he touched to seek our better selves.

Commit this day to take up his torch

In this world where money is God,

Service to each other is our hope and

Righteous calling and we shall not

Mourn the loss of this better angel, but

Rejoice that he was here in this needy world,

In humble service to us all.


By Don Harker  12/20/13

Written to honor my very dear friend and mentor Greg Dees


There are no comments · Add a comment
Beth Anderson , 12/21/2013 4:20:31 AM UTC

It is with a heavy heart that I report that Greg passed away peacefully at Duke Hospital this afternoon.  He was surrounded by a small group of close friends here in Durham. 

I know this sad news will come as a shock to most of you, especially given just ten days ago we thought he would be leaving the hospital for a stroke rehabilitation facility.  Unfortunately, after three weeks of steady progress, Greg's health took a dramatic turn for the worse last week.  Each day brought additional uncertainty and complications as the doctors tried to manage the interaction between various treatments and medical conditions that were too often at odds with each other.  Greg put up a strong fight and had moments of lucidity and seeming improvement, but in the end, his body was exhausted and his spirit ready to let go.

Greg's funeral will take place with his family in Cincinnati shortly after Christmas, and there will be a memorial service at Duke in 2014.  We will share plans for both on this site as they solidify.  In the meantime, we welcome posts here so that members of the global community that Greg helped create and nurture can honor their memories of him. 

We will all miss Greg's generous, kind, and compassionate heart, his humility, his brilliant mind, and so many other gifts he shared with the world.  No doubt the world is a far better place for his having been here, and we are all better people for his having been a part of our lives.  May he rest in peace and live on in our hearts, minds, and actions.

Beth Anderson , 12/8/2013 4:50:34 PM UTC

Greg's latest MRI confirmed that he had a stroke in his left frontal lobe; there was also evidence of a small stroke in the right hemisphere, but the neurologist is not concerned about its impact.  

Greg is working hard and continues to show improvement each day.  On Friday, he was declared ready for acute rehabilitation by the physical, occupational, and speech therapists, which basically means he is responsive and strong enough to engage in at least 3 non-contiguous hours of therapy a day.  This is a significant milestone. 

We are now in the midst of the "matching prcess," working with Duke and acute rehabilitation facilities to find the best fit for him.  Once a match is made, he will move as soon as a bed is available, which could be as early as this week.  It is highly uncertain how long he will be in acute rehab as it will depend on how he and his body respond.  

On behalf of Greg and his "team" here, thanks for all the support and keep sending your thoughts and prayers!

Beth Anderson , 12/2/2013 2:27:20 PM UTC

Greg fell severely ill two months ago with serious bleeding in his lungs that may have been precipitated by an auto-immune disease he has been fighting for some time. Since then, he has been at Duke Hospital, where a team of doctors have been treating his lungs and underlying conditions.  During this time, he also suffered a stroke.  

In the last couple of weeks, Greg's lungs have shown marked improvement, and he has also begun showing incremental signs of neurological and physical recovery. But his injuries and the extended stay in the hospital have taken significant tolls on him, and the prognosis for his ability to return to full function remains highly uncertain. 

We are very cautiously hopeful that he will continue improving and are focusing our thoughts, time, and energy on helping him do so.  While Greg's family is not nearby, they are in touch remotely, and very close friends and colleagues in Durham, NC are spending time with him and advocating for him every day.  And together with his family and the medical team at Duke, we are actively researching rehabilitation facilities, options, and resources.  Greg's case is a complex one and we are seeking input from a range of health care experts.  If you have personal experience with stroke and physical rehab facilities (especially those nearby) or specific strategies for post-stroke recovery and/or managing the complications associated with auto-immune disorders, please do share. 

Additionally, while the rest of his body hopefully continues to get stronger, one of the best things any of us can do for him is to remind him how much he is loved and to help support his neurological recovery by stimulating his memory and engaging his attention. While Greg is not able to take phone calls, he does enjoy hearing from and about others.  So please send your thoughts, pictures, audio or video recordings, or whatever creative thing you can think of via this website, more privately to, or by emailing to receive instructions and a Dropbox link for uploading a video message.  We will make sure he sees and hears everything that comes our way.  And we will post updates on his status here as well, so please do not call the hospital with inquiries.

Greg Dees has touched so many lives in so many places in so many ways.  Let's all come together for him at this critical time.

There are no comments · Add a comment