virtus semper viridis. Motto of The Lawrenceville School. "Virtue is always green." It is an inside joke for sure. The Latin viridis can mean "growing" as well as "green" so "virtue is always growing". The joke is simply that the money that turned Lawrenceville into a major campus came from John C. Green.
This is from the Lawrenceville web site:
"The Lawrenceville School established the John Cleve Green Society to recognize the generosity of all participants in the School's Planned Giving Programs.
It was through the foresight and generosity of the Society's namesake, John Cleve Green, that the Lawrenceville School was purchased in 1879 from Samuel M. Hamill, re-created in the tradition of the older New England academies, and brought to international prominence before the turn of the century.
The remarkable legacy of John Cleve Green and his generous heirs includes much that gives Lawrenceville its distinctive character today. The Circle Houses, Memorial Hall, Upper House, Edith Memorial Chapel, and most of the land on which the School is situated are all a part of this extraordinary legacy."
As for the rest of it, namely the opium "business", this is from the Princeton web site:
"Green, John Cleve (1800-1875) was the (Princeton) College's greatest benefactor during the presidency of James McCosh. By the time McCosh retired in 1888, Green and his residuary legatees had contributed `to the good of the College,' President McCosh said in his farewell report, `upwards of a million and a half, perhaps two million dollars.'
Green was born in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and was a member of the first class to enter what became the Lawrenceville School. He did not go to college, but entered the employ of New York merchants with extensive foreign trade. He spent ten years as supercargo of ships visiting South America and China, and by the time he was forty had acquired an ample fortune in the China trade, derived from the tea and textile business and, after the end of the East India Company's monopoly, from the opium trade. This fortune he enhanced by investments in railroads, whose dividends often reached 15 percent. His three children having died young, he made substantial gifts to various philanthropies. He was a principal benefactor of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum and the Home for Ruptured and Crippled in New York City, and of the Lawrenceville School and the Princeton Theological Seminary, as well as of Princeton College. "