Using what he learned at Ohio State, Clifford Greer has built a career as an innovative engineering educator, successful assistant football coach, mentor, and role model.
A first-generation college student from Akron, Ohio, Greer faced an unprecedented life decision: selecting a major. So many options. One stood out. Hoping to avoid careers that would trap him in an office every day, Greer picked construction systems management at CFAES.
“It gave me a unique outlook,” said Greer, a recipient of the 2020 CFAES Young Professional Achievement Award. “I grew up in the city, so I met a group of people that I had no exposure to. A lot of those courses lined up with my business minor, courses like ag econ, things I wouldn’t have had exposure to in another college.”
Greer (BS 2007) learned how to weld, carpenter, and pour concrete—skills he had to know in order to be able to supervise. His academic advisor suggested classes that supplemented his major but didn’t waste his time. An ancient architecture course filled an art history class requirement.
Greer, now of Naples, Fla., uses what he learned in the classroom. Greer is credited with establishing the Naples High School Engineering Academy, an award-winning program that focuses on inspiring the next generation of designers and problem-solvers through work-based learning experiences that help students reinforce what they are learning in the classroom.
“It’s an exposure thing. They can have the experience I had when I went to college,” he said. “I tell kids, explore it.”
In 2018, Naples High School Engineering Academy was the only U.S. engineering academy that earned the Distinguished Academy status, and Greer was one of 10 teachers out of 20,000 nationwide to be recognized by Project Lead the Way as an Outstanding Engineering Teacher.
Since joining the Naples football coaching staff, Greer has helped lead the team to eight district championships and four regional championships. “Through our experiences together, we’re having a relationship and making them better men.”
In all, 12 individuals were recognized with 2020 CFAES Alumni Awards.
Young Professional Achievement Award: Clifford Greer (left) and Sarah Herringshaw (right)
International Alumni Award: Mauricio Bittencourt (left) and Luiz Lucchesi (right)
Distinguished Alumni Award: (left to right) Jeffrey Dickinson, Elizabeth Guertal, Robert Joseph, Bruce Kettler, Lou Kozma Jr., and David Richards
Meritorious Service Award: Jerry Bigham (left) and William Hildebolt (right)