Bernard Greenberg

Bernard Greenberg 10/4/1910-11/24/85

Family: Wife Ruth and 3 children Raymond, Stanley and Frances.

Bernard Greenberg was born in the Bronx, educated in the New York City School system, and graduated from City College of New York at the age of 19. He was drafted into the army in World War II. While in the service he met Ruth, his wife to be.. Ruth was the sister of a close friend of Greenberg's in the military. According to Ruth, the friend took Bernie home ostensibly to meet the family but, in actuality it was a set up to meet his sister. Ruth and he married after the war and they travelled south to Raleigh at first to take a summer program and then a full time graduate program at North Carolina State in statistics.

Even before Bernie finished his degree, he was hired as the first faculty member and chair of the newly created Biostatistics Department at UNC.. He served as chair for over 20 years and in 1972 he was promoted to Dean of the UNC School of Public Health. He brought .prestige to the program from the very start, according to a newsletter article published by the school in 2008 giving a retrospective summary of Dr. Greenberg's work. The article stated that it "would be difficult to exaggerate the powerful impact of Dr. Greenberg's vision and creativity upon [the school]".

Examples of his exemplary research include publishing the first available article on the design and conduct of clinical trials in 1959 and then later chairing a committee appointed by NIH to formulate a process for large multicenter clinical studies. The resultant "Greenberg Report:" was considered a landmark in the field He received many honors including the American Public Health Association Bronfman Award for contributions to research and education.

While devoted to his research, teaching and administrative duties, he had a fierce sense of social justice. He promoted minority rights, and was concerned with access to care.. Furthermore, he was very involved in the lives of many academics, as mentor and colleague and was widely respected.. Dr. Greenberg set high standards for the department and the faculty, insisting that the faculty spend equal amounts of time in research and practice, while maintaining the deep respect of his colleagues. His wife Ruth states that she has "hundreds of letters" of testimonials from students and colleagues describing the influence of his mentorship and support.

While heavily involved in his professional career, Dr. Greenberg maintained a strong commitment to synagogue life. He was president of Beth El from 1964 to 1966 at a time of great transition. Up till this time, members of Beth El primarily were businessmen. Leonard Rogoff in his book ¬Homelands points out that in 1963 the board of Beth El consisted of merchants and lawyers. Dr. Greenberg was the first president from academia. Rogoff states that perhaps he was accepted because he was orthodox and because he had been present in the community for a long time. Gladys Siegel thought that he was respected because he in turn showed great respect for the businessmen who had built up Beth El in the first place. According to Gladys, the merchants were in awe of this physically tall academic.

In the 1970's, there was a growing sense that it was time for a new rabbi and Bernie Greenberg was appointed to approach the current rabbi in order to pave the way for his resignation. Dr. Greenberg was head of the rabbi search committee and played an instrumental role in first bringing Steve Sager down and then remaining involved as a major support for Rabbi Sager in his first years. He did all this work at the synagogue while Dean of the School of Public Health. When asked when her husband found the time to sleep, his wife Ruth answered "he didn't, he would be up in the middle of the night working out biostatistics problems."

In tribute to him, a year after his death in 1986, the School of Public Health established the Bernard Greenberg Alumni Endowment Award to be presented on a yearly basis to a faculty member of the school who demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service.

After describing his accomplishments, his son, Ray Greenberg added, " what is hard to appreciate without knowing him, however, was how kind, generous and modest he was. There is no way to capture that in a bio."