Tributes paid to beloved lecturer who died day before 40th birthday

Dr Johanna Green, 39, died on July 20, at The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, Bellahouston Park.

Tributes paid to beloved University of Glasgow lecturer who died day before 40th birthday UofG

Tributes have been paid to a beloved University of Glasgow lecturer who has died five years after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Dr Johanna Green, 39, was a senior information studies lecturer and expert in book history and digital humanities.

She died on July 20, at The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, Bellahouston Park, with parents Wynn and Dave by her side.

Dr Green has been remembered as a widely loved figure, both as an academic and a beacon for raising awareness that bowel cancer can happen to anyone.

Speaking in 2019, Dr Green said: “I never thought bowel cancer could happen to me in my mid-30s. I thought it was a disease that happened to older people.

“Now I’m keen to raise awareness that bowel cancer can happen to young people too. If I’d known more about the risks and the symptoms, perhaps things would have been different for me, and the cancer caught earlier.”

Diagnosed with stage-four bowel cancer in 2018, Dr Green continued to balance palliative treatment with her vital academic work, returning to teaching in 2020 after surgery and extensive chemotherapy.

The University of Glasgow said she “wasn’t in a fight with her disease”, adding that she believed life was amazing and credited Glasgow for helping her recover in 2019.

“She was determined to make a difference, and more importantly get back to teaching her students – a job she absolutely adored and was exceptional at,” her colleagues said.

On the first anniversary of being diagnosed with bowel cancer, Dr Green acted as guest of honour at the Shine Night Walk, a 10k in Glasgow to raise money to help Cancer Research UK researchers.

She started the 2019 event but was not strong enough to do the full walk, so nine of her colleagues – calling themselves the UofG Semi-Colons – did the walk for her and raised over £4000 in less than two days.

Dr Green used the Cancer Research UK event to highlight her story in the media and to encourage everyone, particularly younger people like herself, to check for signs of the deadly disease.

This was a cause that was also successfully taken up by Dame Deborah James on the UK stage, who, like Dr Green, was diagnosed at 35.

Since news of the lecturer’s death, there has been an outpouring of tributes across social media platforms from those who knew her not just in Glasgow, but across Scotland, around the UK and internationally.

Born in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear on July 21, 1983, Dr Green was the only child of Wynn and Dave.

Colleagues said her classes were characterised by innovation, as she “fearlessly embraced technology” to create immersive learning experiences.

She retired in April 2023 but remained part of Information Studies as an Honorary Research Fellow.

Her funeral service on August 8 is open to friends and family – for those who cannot attend, the ceremony will be livestreamed. More information can be found here.