Outstanding Alumni Award – Elrich “Pete” Green, ’78

As a student at Heidelberg in the mid-1970s, Elrich L. “Pete” Green was a larger-than-life personality on campus, engaged in activities across the board where he could truly make a difference. He was a track student-athlete, the business manager for WHEI, performed with the Jazz Band, worked in residence life and was a member of Sigma Tau Nu, Black Student Union and Tower Men. This diverse set of interests has served Pete well throughout his life of purpose with distinction.

Since graduation, Pete has continued a strong commitment to making his community a better place to live and learn with his myriad of contributions to the schools, libraries, local government, non-profits and his church.

The local Captain James Lawrence Elementary School in his Burlington Township home has benefited immensely from Pete’s efforts. From serving as its PTA president, Pete has found creative ways to enhance the learning environment for students. He developed a library shelf in memory of his brother, Errol Jonathan and established a Merit Program and Merit School to reinforce positive behavior among students. He also spearheaded a fund-raiser to provide new, modular playground equipment for the school. In 1990, the City of Burlington Board of Education proclaimed June 11, 1990 as Pete Green Day. Two years later, he called upon what he learned from his Heidelberg geology professor, Dr. Edwin Ashworth (“Doc Rocks”), to develop and teach Dinosaur Days to K-4 students at the local B. Bernice Young Elementary School during the school’s Science Discovery Days every March for the past 27 years.

The importance of reading also has been a theme throughout Pete’s life. In addition to working for a number of years in the bookstore industry, Pete has been instrumental in supporting local and school libraries. He served on the board of the Library Company of Burlington. In 1996, he established the Afri-Male Institute “Safe Haven,” a reference library for youth.

He has continued to serve local children and his community in many ways throughout his lifetime. Some of his many contributions include serving on the board (past president) of Buck’s County Head Start, founding the Boy Scouts South Jersey Chapter and working as a merit badge counselor and Eagle Scout sponsor, serving on the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and riding his bike in the City to Shore MS150 from Philadelphia to Ocean City, New Jersey, in support of Multiple Sclerosis, annually every September.

Completing his circle of service to his community, Burlington Township voters have elected Pete to serve as a city councilman for seven terms which also included tenure as president and president pro tem. He also was appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. In recognition of his nearly three decades of local government service, Pete was named to the New Jersey Elected Officials Hall of Fame in 2015.

Pete serves his faith community, having been ordained a deacon at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, where he also teaches doctrinal studies, and as a minister of the Gospel at Universal Life Church.

As a past member of the Alumni Council, he’s also been a valued alumnus, representing the university at college fairs in his New Jersey area and hosting alumni gatherings near his home. Every year since their graduation, Pete and his lovely wife, Barbara, ‘78, have returned to Heidelberg. This year marks their 41st trip back to campus.

These days, Pete spends a great deal of his free time behind the lens of a camera, capturing life’s best and spontaneous moments. He is a collector of “photographica,” including more than 275 antique cameras from 1880-1930. He also is a collector of African American Memorabilia and an active bird watcher.

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