Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date July 28, 2008

For More Information: Pat O’Brien, (901) 333-4021

Longtime Congressional Aide Now Heads the New Government Relations Office at Southwest

Sherman Greer has been appointed Executive Director of Government Relations for Southwest Tennessee Community College. This new office promotes day-to-day contact with city, county, state and federal legislative bodies, creating new opportunities to build and support programs mutually beneficial both to students and many sectors of the local economy.

Greer previously served as District Director for U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen and for many years was a senior aide to former Congressman Harold Ford Jr.

"Initially, my focus is to build on relationships the college has with elected and appointed officials to enhance funding and grant opportunities. Given recent cuts in funding for higher education we must be more creative and seek additional ways to partner with key stakeholders in the community," said Greer.

A key responsibility of the Government Relations Office is to ensure that the president and the community of Southwest are kept up-to-date about government activities and proposals that may directly impact the college, its students, faculty and administrators. The office also works in cooperation with other offices of the college including academic grants, corporate and foundation relations, and public relations to maximize the college’s agenda. Another key aspect will be working with faculty to help identify opportunities for state and federal appropriations.

Greer makes it a point to maintain close contact with the Shelby County delegation. He is in Nashville approximately once a week when the legislature is in session. He also fosters relationships with legislators from middle and east Tennessee and works with representatives from other Tennessee Board of Regents schools across the state to collaborate and develop ideas. “Government relations to me is more than advocating particular positions to elected officials. It’s about building and nurturing relationships, trust, and communicating the values and mission of your organization,” said Greer. “Often, what’s good for us is good for them, too. And the more general a need we can point out, the more likely it will be supported,” added Greer. As well as bringing Southwest needs before the legislators, Greer is often available with answers, or with access to information, they may suddenly find they need concerning bills they are working on.

Currently, Greer is focusing on supporting efforts of the Institutional Development Office to complete their fund-raising for the college’s new Nursing, Natural Sciences and Biotechnology Building. According to Greer, “community colleges are uniquely positioned to create programs to meet the needs of the region it serves. For instance, while research at the University of Memphis may provide badly needed solutions to transportation needs, most likely it will be Southwest that designs the programs and courses needed to train the workers that will help bring the solutions to fruition.”

“I am honored and excited about this opportunity. Southwest is making great strides to be known as the community’s college and I just hope that I am able to make a positive contribution to its continuing success.”

Greer, a native Memphian, received his bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from the University of Tennessee-Martin.


Cutline: Sherman Greer