Posted in All

My Motlow Circle

for Greer

Niles Reddick


For thirteen years, I worked with some wonderful people at Motlow College in Lynchburg TN (and McMinnville, Fayetteville and Smyrna). I remember going there as a young faculty member in my twenties and making 25k my first year, but it was a full time teaching job instead of my part time gigs.

Oh, I made some mistakes through the years, like spending an early December check on Christmas and not realizing it was my monthly check (January was a tough month for us in Lynchburg); like being late for class and climbing through the window to save time (and getting in trouble by my dean Mary); like being disorganized and forgetting which campus I was supposed to be on to teach and having to cancel classes; like the time I made a comment in a college-wide strategic planning session and said the words hell and damn (and my friend Brenda cautioned me that the far right didn’t take kindly to my language). These are only a few examples.

Somehow, I survived thirteen years and actually made it through the faculty ranks, obtained tenure, was promoted to be a director of the Smyrna campus, and finally became dean. I could have stayed there forever, but I moved on to other places and experiences, thinking that was the way.  I treasure the memories and the people and, more often than not, long to be there again, in my twenties, driving the rolling hills of Moore County and smelling the mash from Jack Daniel’s.

My circle at Motlow got smaller today when I got word Greer died from cancer. When I first went to Motlow, Greer worked for Maurice in Human Resources (Maurice was the first person I heard say “youins”) Greer was always helpful, always patient with this young faculty member who thought he knew everything and had an opinion about everything, but ultimately knew very little.

Greer moved onto into the admissions and records area of the college and eventually became the director. She’d survived two battles with cancer and I knew she was tough. She had resolve in her walk, in her talk, and she kept me in line more than once as a young administrator (who still thought he knew everything and believed rules were meant to be broken).  I know she wanted to whack me in the head so many times; she’d march to my office, catalog in hand, yellow sticky notes pasted everywhere, waiving it and telling me I was breaking policy, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Greer was a scrapper. She was tough.  She always did the right thing.

I don’t know that Greer knew how much she helped shape me, helped me to see that knee-jerk management would not work, helped me to do research and make informed decisions. Today, I am appreciative and thankful for her; for her life and work and positive influence on my life. God bless you, Greer.