Douglas C. Greene of Vancouver, Washington, and Rancho Mirage, California, a member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board of Directors for 10 years and “Friend of the University,” will receive an honorary Doctor of Business degree from Southeast Missouri State University during spring commencement exercises planned for 2 p.m. May 13 in the Show Me Center.
The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved conferring the degree during the ceremony in which graduates from the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, College of Education and College of Science, Technology and Agriculture will participate tomorrow afternoon.
An honorary degree is one of the most prestigious awards presented by Southeast Missouri State University and has only been conferred nine times in the University’s history. It is awarded to an individual for distinguished achievement, accomplishment or service in an area related to the institution’s mission.
“Doug has been a transformational figure at Southeast Missouri State University serving as a catalyst for innovation and experiential learning over the last 10 years,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast. “He has been instrumental in helping to grow the University’s entrepreneurship programs. He has worked closely with students and faculty to help develop programs and scholarship to foster an entrepreneurial mindset across the university.”
Greene began sharing his experiences in classrooms at Southeast Missouri State University with demonstrations and lectures about product development cycles, offshore sourcing and marketing. He has generously donated his time, through lectures and demonstrations, and his funds, to the Harrison College of Business and jump-started entrepreneurial study programs in several other areas throughout the University. Southeast named The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in his honor in 2011.
He has been a guest speaker during Southeast’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and in 2008, presented the first Entrepreneurial Scholarship Award to a member of the student body and honored his wife, Heather, in dedicating the Heather MacDonald Greene Multimedia Center in Kent Library. The Greenes have generously supported Southeast students by funding more than 50 scholarships.
In 2010, the Greenes were selected for the coveted “Friend of the University” award. In 2005, Mr. Greene was awarded the Distinguished Service Award and, in 2007, was named to the Board of Directors of the University Foundation. He was a member of the Leadership Committee for the successful “Honoring Tradition, Inspiring Success” comprehensive capital campaign that raised more than $49.6 million for the University.
Greene received his Bachelor of Business with majors in science and art from Marietta (Ohio) College in 1962. He began his career with Sears Roebuck & Company in the executive training program. During his time at Sears, he served as a store manager, manager of an experiential, start-up retailing operation in a suburb of New York City, and was responsible for introducing the Radial tire and Diehard battery to Sears’ stores. He worked at the company’s Chicago headquarters as the national buyer of lighting fixtures and fireplace equipment.
After 13 years with Sears, Greene left to take over a Portland, Oregon, company that manufactured glass door firescreens, and went on to own or manage several other glass door firescreen companies before starting two new companies, Skytech Associates International, Inc., and Skytech, Inc., that developed remote controls for gas fireplaces. Nicknamed the “Father of Fireplace Remotes,” Greene grew the company into an innovative, worldwide business venture.
He sold the remote business in 2001 and founded Skytech Enterprises, a company specializing in the development of Infrared (IR) devices for pain management and skin care treatments. Greene has traveled extensively, sourcing products in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Japan, Spain, (former) Yugoslavia and India.
His most recent interests are in the direction of energy saving devices and alternate energy. In 2009, he formed a new corporation, Alternate Energy Systems, Inc., to develop a revolutionary new home heating unit using “water as the fuel.” Through the process of electrolysis, these elements can burn at very high temperatures and heat a home using minimal energy, or can be attached to solar panels or wind generators, requiring no fossil fuel to operate. In 2010, Greene formed Aqua Smart, Inc., and developed a remote control system to “wirelessly” program the temperature of an electric water heater.
Greene is the 10th to receive an honorary degree at Southeast Missouri State University. Previous recipients of honorary degrees at Southeast are:
Spring, 1996: The late Rush Limbaugh, Sr. (presented posthumously) – Doctor of Laws
Spring, 1999: The late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon – Doctor of Laws
Fall, 2000: The late Clark Terry – Doctor of Letters
Fall, 2001: Sheryl Crow – Doctor of Letters
Spring, 2005: Donald Dickerson – Doctor of Laws
Fall, 2006: Gen. James T. Conway – Doctor of Laws
Spring, 2007: Dr. Jerry Caulder – Doctor of Science
Spring, 2013: Brad Bedell – Doctor of Laws
Spring, 2015: Doyle L. Privett – Doctor of Business