To say that Reba McCullouch Greer simply has a passion for writing is an understatement. Greer has devoted her career and life to changing the way students learn to write.
With the establishment of the McCullouch-Greer Endowment to Advance Writing as a Civic Responsibility, Greer has extended this mission to include University of Mississippi students as well.
Greer graduated from Ole Miss in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of Liberal Arts, which prepared her for work in Georgia, California, New York and Maryland. As a teacher, school administrator and central office supervisor in Virginia, she developed programs to help K-12 students understand and apply their writing and research process to create hypothesis-based text.
“I was always looking for something that would incorporate writing and that would also give back to the state of Mississippi,” Greer said.
Returning to Oxford, Greer and her husband, Lance, were pleased to discover the Department of Writing and Rhetoric — a curriculum that did not exist during her days at Ole Miss. They instantly felt a connection and wanted to help the department grow.
“Reba Greer is known well as someone who is invested in improving literacy in Mississippi,” said Dr. Robert Cummings, chair of the Department of Writing and Rhetoric. “This is an interest that we quickly discovered we shared.”
The McCullouch-Greer Endowment was established to advance writing as a civic responsibility and to empower students to read, digest, craft and argue hypothesis-based responses. This is an integral part of what drives Greer’s fundamental beliefs about the value of proficient writing skills in a world where a liberal arts education is often underestimated.
“The department is over the moon about her involvement,” Cummings said. “Greer is someone who understands the centrality of writing and rhetoric in being a full participant in democracy, especially being able to translate and evaluate events. With this partnership, I am hopeful we can work toward this goal of improving literacy in Mississippi together.”
The endowment aims to support the department’s current and future efforts to offer a writing education based on critical thinking, ethics-based reasoning, oral communication and written communication.
“I want to make sure that kids who have a need, who want a liberal arts education and who choose to pursue a degree in technical and research writing have the opportunity to do so,” Greer said. “I want to encourage us to recognize that writing as a civic responsibility is a critical component of American democracy and also helps us grow Mississippi's economy. I hope others will join us in this support for the Department of Writing and Rhetoric."
The McCullouch-Greer Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, Miss. 38655; or visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift or contact Ron Wilson, development officer for the College of Liberal Arts, at 662-915-1755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, call (662) 915-2121 or visit www.rhetoric.olemiss.edu.
By Hannah Pickett