Arlene Greenfield

Retired Col. Arlene F. Greenfield, BSEd '71

Photo courtesy of: Patton College of Education

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University community stunned by death of energetic, philanthropic alumna

Retired Colonel Arlene F. Greenfield died unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia at the age of 64.

The 1971 graduate of The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education was known for her robust leadership presence, generosity and vivacious personality. She was a woman with high expectations and was always quick to recognize the work of others.

“Deborah and I are shocked and deeply grieved by the passing of Arlene, our dear friend and a beloved member of our University family,” said President Roderick J. McDavis. “Arlene was a visionary, a philanthropist, a devoted OHIO alumna and a truly exemplary human being in every sense. Her memory and legacy will continue to be a source of unity and inspiration for our university community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Arlene’s family in this time of sorrow.” 

Following her direct commission in the Women’s Army Corps after her OHIO graduation, Greenfield served in the United States Army for 30 years, including three successful command tours and a variety of stateside and international assignments. She graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College and attended Harvard University on a Senior Service College Fellowship.

Greenfield had extensive military experience in human resources, personnel management, administration, utilization and readiness at Major Army Command levels including the Department of Defense. She was the military director of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), and was highly decorated, most notably, with the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. She retired with the rank of colonel in 2001.

Greenfield’s impressive military career, coupled with her ambitious and charitable nature, drove her to become involved with OHIO’s Women in Philanthropy (WIP) and the Ohio University Alumni Association (OUAA) Board of Directors; she would later serve as chair of both organizations. She served on the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees and as an Ohio University Trustee. She also was involved with The Patton College Dean’s Circle of Engagement (DCE), The Promise Lives Campaign Committee, and Veteran’s Services.

“The passing of Arlene Greenfield is a deep loss to me personally and to our University community and family,” said Renée A. Middleton, dean of The Patton College. “Arlene was a personal and professional mentor and confidant. I will miss her smile and enthusiasm. She was a leader and inspiration to women, veterans, and OHIO alumni as she dedicated her time, talent, and treasure to The Patton College and to the University. She has helped many Patton College students with scholarship and service. The Patton College will keep her legacy alive through great achievements made possible by her dedication and generosity.”

The list of Greenfield’s contributions to Ohio University and its programs is extensive: ROTC, Bobcat Battalion, Athletics, Galbreath Chapel, Libraries, OUAA, Marching 110, Student Affairs, several colleges and dozens of academic programs have benefitted from her generosity. She also endowed a number of scholarships campus-wide. As invested as she was in the institution, she was even more devoted to the OHIO students, in particular, military veterans. She was an unwavering advocate for those suffering from PTSD, and gave liberally of her time, talent and treasure to support OHIO’s ROTC programs.

Her affinity toward service men and women extended beyond the walls of her alma mater; she remained involved with the military well into her retirement as a member of the Chief of Staff, Army, Retiree Council and as the medical chairperson of the Fort Myer Military Community Retiree Council. Greenfield also was partner and co-founder of Qualitative Research Service Consultants Inc., a small business specializing in research and analysis involving military, business, women and work and educational organizations.

Memorial service details are to be determined. Greenfield will be laid to rest among her fellow brothers and sisters in arms in the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. She is survived by her two brothers.

All are welcome to attend the memorial service on Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Please RSVP to Stuart Greenfield at or at (512) 323-2232. Friends and colleagues are encouraged to share photos with to be included in the program. If you cannot attend the event but would like to be notified of formal burial details later this fall, please contact the Greenfield family.

In lieu of flowers, the Greenfield family hopes that you will consider a donation to one of the following organizations to which Arlene so generously contributed her time, talent and resources:

Ohio University Arlene F. Greenfield Endowed Scholarship Fund:

Army Women’s Foundation:

Women’s Memorial at Arlington: