He was a founder of Texas Instruments. With his wife Ida Green, he was a philanthropist who helped found the University of Texas at Dallas, Green College at the University of British Columbia, St. Mark's School of Texas, and Green College at the University of Oxford. They were also major contributors to the Cecil H. Green Library at Stanford University, the Cecil H. & Ida Green Graduate and Professional Center at the Colorado School of Mines, and the Cecil & Ida Green Building for earth sciences at MIT (designed by I.M. Pei).
Born in Whitefield, England, in 1900, Green and his family migrated to Nova Scotia, Toronto, Canada and San Francisco, United States, where he witnessed the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where Green attended UBC for two years before transferring to The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning both a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering in 1924.
In 1941, Green and his partners J. Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott and H.B. Peacock bought GSI, a geophysical exploration service. The company began to do electronics work during World War II, and in 1951, the company's name changed to Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI), and GSI became a wholly owned subsidiary of TI.
Green served as vice president (1941-1951), president (1951-1955) and chairman of GSI (1955-1959). He also served as vice president and director of Texas Instruments and in 1976 was named honorary director of the company. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1970. In 1979 Green and his wife were awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.
Cecil Howard Green died in 2003 at the age of 102.
The growth of TI made Green an enormously wealthy man, and he and Ida quickly set about giving his wealth away. The Greens' philanthropic efforts totalled over $200 million, and most of this money was given to education and medicine. He was given an honorary knighthood in 1991 (at age 91) by Queen Elizabeth II.
One gift was the founding of the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green branch of the University of California Systemwide Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP). This branch is located at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
It was because of Green's generous gift that Green College, Oxford was founded in 1979. Green College merged with Templeton College in 2008 to become Green Templeton College, on the site of what was previously Green College.
Some of Green's philanthropy at the University of British Columbia (UBC) was encouraged by William Carleton Gibson, a neurologist in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Both Gibson and Green referred to Gibson as "Cecil Green's most expensive friend" due to his encouragement to fund the Cecil and Ida Green Visiting Professorship and Green College, University of British Columbia. In 1998, the UBC Alumni Association gave Green and Gibson alumni "Lifetime Achievement Awards" in recognition of their support for the University.
- Texas Instruments
- Cecil H. Green Library
- Green College, Oxford
- Green College, University of British Columbia
- Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (2006-07-12). "History Cecil and Ida Green: Benefactors and philanthropists". IGPP web site. Archived from the original on 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
- Texas Instruments. "Founders' Biographies - Cecil H. Green". TI web site. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
- "Philanthropist Cecil Green dies at 102" (Press release). MIT News Office. 2003-04-18. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter G" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- IGPP - Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics - Scripps UCSD
- "Philanthropist, student leader, World Cup medalist to get alumni honours". UBC Reports (University of British Columbia Public Affairs Office). October 1, 1998. p. 8. Retrieved 2006-12-23. This issue of UBC Reports is also online in PDF form.
- "Student, business leaders earn alumni awards". UBC Reports (University of British Columbia Public Affairs Office). May 21, 1998. p. 8. Retrieved 2006-12-23. This issue of UBC Reports is also online in PDF form.