An inspiration. A true friend. A model of someone committed to racial justice, equality, and a loving and inclusive U of R community.
That is how University of Redlands students, faculty, staff, and friends attending a virtual gathering on May 8 remembered Jacob Green ’20, who passed away last November.
During the event, hosted by the Diversity Initiatives staff on Webex, a new piece of artwork was unveiled in Green’s memory. The mosaic portrait of Green hangs on the wall in the Office of Campus Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), not far from the desk he occupied as an intern.
“Jacob was special to us in different ways,” said Diversity Initiatives staff member Peter Tupou, who spoke first at the event. “To many, he was a strong shoulder we could always lean on, and to others, he was the iron that sharpened your perspective. To some, he was a student, eager to learn all you had to teach, and to others, he was a teacher who shared his love of learning so freely.
Former CDI intern Ridha Kapoor ’20 shared a painting of Green that she had finished the previous evening. Green’s close friend, Javier Garcia III ’20, who is the Office’s assistant and recipient of the Jacob Green Memorial Prize, spoke to the powerful role Green played in his own life. Professor Alesha Knox recited lyrics from a song she dedicated to Green at the end of the first-year seminar she recently taught.
Former President of the Associated Students of the University of Redlands (ASUR) Jacob Miner ’20 shared his experience of meeting Green, a fellow first-year student at the time, during Summer Bridge, a program dedicated to easing the transition for first-generation college-bound students.
“It became very clear that Jacob was the glue of our group,” Miner said. “His presence made us all feel so connected in this experience.”
Along with other members of ASUR, Miner approached the Diversity Initiatives staff earlier this year with a request to memorialize Green in some way on campus. Reaching out to Piece by Piece, an organization that trains residents of Skid Row to make and sell mosaic art made of broken tile, glass, china, and found objects, was something that felt right, said Interim Director of Diversity Initiatives Monique Stennis.
“When we think about Jacob and his community outreach — as a mentor, someone who empowered others, Title IX intern, and Campus Diversity and Inclusion intern — it just made sense to create a mosaic piece that we can have forever in this space,” said Stennis.
After Diversity Initiatives staff unveiled the piece, attendees were invited to share their thoughts and memories of Green, whose impact was felt across the Redlands campus.
One attendee, Ann West '62, spoke of the indelible mark Green left on her life. West first connected with Green through his scholarship, which she and her late husband, Bob West ’61, had funded with a leadership gift to the Redlands Scholarship Fund.
As a senior, Green was working on his capstone project, which focused on the idea of love. In closing, Tupou shared a quote from All About Love: New Visions, a book written by bell hooks, an author and activist Green and Tupou often talked about: “Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give to yourself. The light of love is always in us, no matter how cold the flame. It is always present, waiting for the spark to ignite, waiting for the heart to awaken.
“Jacob Green did that for us,” Tupou said. “He was the spark that awakened our hearts.”
Learn more about Campus Diversity and Inclusion.