John Thomas Greer was born on September 28, 1937, five miles outside Arcadia, Louisiana, son of the late Thomas Jefferson and Mabel D. Greer. He graduated from Louisiana College with a major in speech and a teaching minor in English. He received a Th.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and later earned his M.A. in English from the University of Evansville. He began his teaching career at Oakland City College in 1968 as a professor in the English Department. He served in this capacity until 1976. Dr. Greer then made a career change to full-time preaching at First Baptist Church of Prescott, Arkansas. By 1977 he was teaching part-time at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. After three years as pastor in Prescott, Dr. Greer returned to teaching full-time at Ouachita, where he served from 1979 until his death. He was the chair of the English department and occupied the Bennie Sue and Clarence Anthony Professor of Humanities chair. Throughout his lifetime Dr. Greer was an active member and served on the board of many local and statewide organizations. A few of these are the Arkansas Humanities Council, Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, Civitan International, Central Arkansas Development Council, and the Clark County Democratic Committee. During his time of teaching at Ouachita, Dr. Greer also served as interim pastor for numerous churches. He formed many memorable relationships with congregations throughout the state of Arkansas. In the minds of many, however, one of Dr. Greer’s most enduring legacies will be the ties that he engineered between OBU and China. His travels to China began in 1987, when he served as a designated Foreign Expert to Zhengzhou University. Throughout the subsequent years, he made 18 trips to various cities throughout China to present academic papers, lead conferences, and teach courses, taking friends and family with him. In 1999 he initiated the Annual Workshop between Ouachita Baptist University and English Department of Peking University faculty members. He was planning the 2007 workshop at the time of his death, November 15, 2006.
This collection expresses the wide variety of interests and activities which typified Dr. Greer's life. There is correspondence from friends, family and colleagues. Baptist materials include church bulletins and newsletters, written or recorded sermons by Dr. Greer and others, and reports from local and regional meetings. The conference papers available range from psychology, history, international studies (particularly China) to ethics and international trade. Dr. Greer's teaching materials are mainly in the areas of religious studies, humanities. There are also personal mementos and photographs.
The physical materials within this collection span the resources available during Dr. Greer's lifetime. There are books and journals, newspapers and posters, physical and emailed correspondence. There are notes on five inch floppy discs, hand-written, typewriter and computer-generated, three-inch discs, cassette tapes, CDs, and DVDs.
John Thomas Greer, Sr., Papers. Riley-Hickingbotham Library Archives and Special Collections, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas.