A Stroke of Academic and Athletic Success – James Greer
I t came as a pleasant surprise to pediatricians Morrell and Electra Greer that their son, James, had decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps by attending Howard University, the school at which the couple met while attending medical school.
“We didn’t push him to choose Howard. He did it himself,” says Morrell Greer, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas.
That the younger Greer has excelled academically and athletically on the Howard men’s swimming team has been less of a surprise to his parents. “He’s always been a self-motivated young man,” the elder Greer says.
Despite what his coach describes as a strong commitment to excelling on the swim team, James Greer’s grades have taken no swan dive. Since enrolling at Howard, Greer has been a student in good standing in the School of Business honors program. He has consistently made the Dean’s list since 1997, and has been active as a volunteer tutor in the community.
“He’s a wonderful personality,” says Carol Henley, Greer’s academic advisor and the director of special programs in the Howard School of Business. “His interpersonal relation-ships with his peers are excellent,” she adds.
Upon his enrollment at Howard, Greer had high enough grades, Advanced Placement test scores and an SAT score to qualify him for the business school honors program. In addition, Advanced Placement course credits qualified him for sophomore standing in his first year in college. He will however, remain in college a fourth year to take required courses only available to him in the fourth year.
“The extra classes will help me get credits towards qualifying for the CPA exam,” he says.
Thinking that his son would likely gravitate to the sciences, Morrell Greer recalls that African American business leaders such as the late Reginald Lewis inspired James. “He started looking at the Black CEOs and became interested in business,” Morrell Greer says.
While James has followed a deliberate path to academic excellence, the Dean’s list student hadn’t planned on becoming a varsity swimmer. After learning that Greer had been a competitive swimmer most of his teenage years, the previous Howard swimming and diving coach persuaded the young scholar to try out for the team during his freshman year.
“It was rough coming back because I hadn’t swam for nearly three years,” Greer says.
He says he began competing as a swimmer when he was nine years old and continued through his sophomore year in high school. While in his last years of high school, Greer played soccer.
Rory Lewis, the Howard swimming and diving team coach who took over the program in the fall of 1998, says Greer has stood out as a team leader and has inspired fellow team members with “a sense of dedication and commitment to the program.”
This month, Greer will receive the Team Spirit award for the second consecutive year.
“He’s been a shining light to [his teammates],” Lewis says.
Over the past three years, Greer has competed in the freestyle swimming category. He has posted times in the 500-, 1,000- and 1650-yard freestyle races that are among the school’s all-time top 10 fastest. Howard, which competes against National Collegiate Athletics Association Division I teams, is rebuilding its program after joining a new conference this school year, according to Lewis.
The men’s team placed third in its conference meet.
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