Dennis Greene

Contact Information

Dennis Greene

Professor of Law

  • Full-Time Faculty


The University of Dayton School of Law. Sha Na Na. If you don't see a connection between the law school and the successful band, you probably haven't met Professor Dennis Greene.

Professor Greene cofounded Sha Na Na as an undergraduate at Columbia University and, having achieved fame, toured internationally from 1969-1977. The group appeared in the Academy Award-winning documentary Woodstock and in the movie "Grease," in which Professor Greene sang lead on "Tears on My Pillow." They released eight albums and hosted a syndicated TV variety show from 1977-1980.

While Professor Greene says he loved being on stage and performing for an audience, his heavy travel schedule was exhausting, and he was getting older. "We were successful for 15 years," he says, "but once you realize you've had a good run, you have to make the transition to something with potential for longevity."

Holding an interest in law from his childhood, Professor Greene also knew a law degree would help in the business world. "Without legal education, saying a contract doesn't sound right doesn't get you anywhere," he says. "I went into law to gain an authoritative knowledge of the parameters of law, what you can and can't do."

After graduating from Yale Law School, he became vice president of production and features at Columbia Pictures and later became president of Lenox/Greene Films.

The transition to teaching in 1995 was a smooth one. He had taught some undergraduate classes at Yale and enjoyed working with students. He also knew his experience would give his students a unique perspective regarding entertainment law. "It helps to have a background in what you're teaching," he says.

Before joining the School of Law faculty in 2004, Professor Greene taught at Florida A&M University for two years. He also taught at the University of Oregon for four years and has been a visiting professor at The Ohio State University, Seton Hall University and the University of Connecticut. In addition, he has been on the Society of American Law Teachers board of directors and on the Law School Admissions Council's Services and Programs Committee. He's listed in Who's Who Among African Americans.

Professor Greene was a visiting professor at the School of Law during the 2001-2002 school year and now teaches at UDSL full time. "I like Dayton," he says. "I like the cultural and diverse mix of the community. It's a warm, friendly place."

These days he prefers discussing the law, though his students inevitably hear of his entertainment past. Does he ever sing for his students? Professor Greene won't say, but "they always request it."

Courses Taught

LAW 6102 Torts I
LAW 6419 Conflict Management & ADR
LAW 6803 Constitutional Law
LAW 6804 Constitutional Law II
LAW 6841 Entertainment Law


J.D., Yale University, 1987
M.A., Harvard University, 1984
B.A., Columbia University, 1972

Areas of Law

Entertainment Law
Constitutional Law
Race and American Law
Intellectual Property

Selected Publications

The Law and Business of the Entertainment Industry (Cognella Press, 2012)

Reconstructing the Future: The Internet and the African American Community

Cultural Colonization in the Hollywood Film, 5 Asian Law Journal (1998)

Immigrants in Chains: Afrophobia in American Legal History, 76 Oregon Law Review (1997)

The Resurrection of Gunga Din, 81 Iowa Law Review (1996)

Tragically Hip: Hollywood and African American Film, Cineaste (1994)