Tribute to Greg Dees

CASE’s co-founder, J. Gregory Dees passed away on Friday, December 20, 2013 at the age of 63. Greg was not only the co-founder of CASE, but also considered by many to be the “father of social entrepreneurship education.”  He was instrumental in founding and developing social entrepreneurship as an academic field, through his work at Duke, Stanford, Harvard and beyond. When he began, “social entrepreneurship” was a new and novel term.  In 2013, a google search reveals more than 65 million hits and Dees’s seminal piece, “The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship” was arguably one of the most widely distributed pieces in the field. Greg was always the guiding light for CASE and, in his honor, we do our best to make social entrepreneurship at Duke worthy of his legacy.  He was in our lives for too short a time, but we are truly grateful for every moment that we shared and to have known his kind soul, generous heart, brilliant mind, and endless generosity. We owe him so much and miss him deeply.

Repository of Professor Dees’ Writing

Professor Dees’ writing and contributions to the field of social innovation are immense. In an effort to advance the understanding of social entrepreneurship and the contributions of the late Greg Dees, many of his writings have been gathered in an online repository. We believe this constitutes a “fair use” of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use any of the copyrighted materials for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use”, you are obligated to obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Access the repository at

Tributes to Professor Dees

A number of tributes and memorials were created for Greg after his passing that we would like to share with our CASE friends.  

A compilation of videos and photos submitted by alumni from around the world.
A photo slideshow of Greg through the years.
Sally Osberg, President of the Skoll Foundation, offered her remembrances of Greg.

Memorial Event and Service

CASE and the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (I&E) hosted a memorial event and service on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 at Duke University to celebrate Greg and his life. Friends and colleagues from around the world gathered for the memorial service to share their reflections on Greg’s work and influence on the field of social entrepreneurship as well as their personal reflection on Greg’s influence on their lives. For those who were unable to attend the event, we are honored to make available for download a collection of materials from the memorial event and beyond.

“Toward an Open-Solution Society” Memorial Event at the Fuqua School of Business

Event Program

Full video of the event including remarks from:
  • Erin Worsham, CASE Executive Director
  • David Bornstein, Journalist
  • Tom Tierney, Bridgespan Group Chairman and Co-founder
  • Cathy Clark, CASE i3 Director

Memorial Service and Reception at Goodson Chapel, Duke Divinity School

Memorial Service Program and Program Insert

Remarks from Beth AndersonEdward Skloot, Duke President Richard Brodhead, and Matt Nash.

Donations in Greg’s Honor

Many have reached to inquire about making a donation in Greg’s honor. Online tributes can be made via CASE’s gifts page.

Checks can be made payable to Duke University (note “CASE/Greg Dees” on the memo line) and mailed to: 

Box 90120
100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708