Frances M. Kelley

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Biographical Information

"Long before environmentalism was in vogue, Frances M. “Kelley” Green, JD ’72, devoted her life and career to protecting our planet. A prominent environmental lawyer, advocate, and philanthropist, Green passed away in 2003 at the age of 57, leaving behind a rich legacy.

"Green’s name will live on in perpetuity at GW Law School through the recently-established Frances “Kelley” Green Scholarship. The endowment will provide scholarships to GW students focusing on environmental law with a demonstrated interest in public service.

"“We wanted to memorialize Kelley’s lifelong work through the fund, which will help law students follow their passion to work in the environmental and public interest fields without the worry of huge debt,” says Ann G. Wylie, president of the Green Fund, a private philanthropic foundation established with Green’s assets after her death. Wylie, who is professor of geology and interim vice president for administrative affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park, was Green’s roommate at Wellesley College and longtime best friend. “Through the scholarship fund at GW Law School, we are pleased to pay tribute to Kelley at the institution that gave her the tools and credentials to do the work that she found most meaningful in her life,” she explains.

"A native of Milledgeville, Ga., Green graduated with honors from GW Law, where she served as notes editor of The Law Review. After working for a short time in private practice, she joined the Carter administration Department of Justice transition team and went on to serve as deputy associate U.S. attorney general and deputy general counsel at the Department of Commerce.

"In 1988, Green moved out west to teach environmental law at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The following year, she founded the Boulder-based Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, a nonprofit environmental law and advocacy center, which she led as president for nearly a decade. “She created the LAW Fund to provide legal services to protect the environment, particularly natural habitats and open spaces, and the center expanded greatly under her leadership,” Wylie says.

"Soon after, Green created a second nonprofit organization, Earth Walk, devoted to environmental education. “Kelley founded Earth Walk to connect inner-city kids from Denver with nature and to instill in them a love and reverence for the environment,” Wylie explains. “She was an extremely idealistic person who really wanted to make a difference.”"[1]

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  1. A Green Life to A Green Scholarship,, accessed January 8, 2012.