This week, Cumberland University, my place of employment, announced the appointment of a new president. It was a great day of celebration and hope for a bright future. In my opinion, the search committee and the Board of Trust made an inspired choice to lead our institution.
Last night, I was reading news reports about the announcement and decided to see if our Wikipedia page had been updated. While skimming over the Wiki information, I noticed a discrepancy. When the new president was introduced, we were told that he is the 26th president of Cumberland University. However, Wikipedia listed him as the 27th.
I jumped on Twitter with the question of which is correct and was told that Nathan Green, Jr. served two nonconsecutive terms. In the view of the university, he counts as one president. That is when I mentioned that Grover Cleveland served as president of the United States for two nonconsecutive terms and counts as two presidents.
We still have not figured out why Cumberland University counts presidents differently than the United States counts presidents, but, since Nathan Green, Jr. caused this mess, I feel the need to tell you more about him.
Green was born into a prominent family on February 19, 1827 and followed his father, who served on the Tennessee Supreme Court, into law. He was one of the founders of the Cumberland School of Law and taught for over sixty years. This included stints as president from 1873 to 1902 and from 1906 to 1909.
Some people credit Green with ushering the university through the Civil War and Reconstruction, and others blame his adherence to outdated legal training as weakening the law school, which would eventually be sold to Samford University.
Green lived a long life and died on February 17, 1919. His life was interesting and full of achievement but wait until I write about his brother Tom Green. It is a wild and wooly story.