Juanita Greer was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 19, 1905. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Agnes Scott College, Georgia, in 1926, and, challenging the traditional boundaries for women at the time, earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1929.
After teaching and conducting research at various colleges and industrial laboratories in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, White moved to Southern Nevada with her husband, Dr. Thomas S. White, in 1955. She immediately recognized the need to establish a center of higher education in the rapidly growing Las Vegas area. Her role as a charter member of the Nevada Southern University Land Foundation from 1966 to 1971 helped secure 300 acres for the UNLV campus.
White was twice elected to the Board of Regents of the University and Community College System of Nevada (now the Nevada System of Higher Education), and served in this body from 1963 to 1971. Her efforts facilitated the growth of Nevada Southern from an extension campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, to a four-year, degree-granting institution that in 1969 became the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition, she helped to establish the University of Nevada School of Medicine at Reno in 1969. White’s passion for education also was evident by her service on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education from 1965 to 1971, and as president of the Nevada State Division of the American Association of University Women from 1963 to 1965. White was elected to the Assembly of the Nevada Legislature and served from 1971 to 1973. Bills and resolutions sponsored by White during her term in the Assembly included measures to improve public education in Nevada and promote the rights and recognition of women and minorities.
Juanita Greer White passed away on Sept. 18, 1997, in Boulder City, Nevada. She will be remembered as a pioneer of women in the sciences and a strong advocate of higher education who, through personal commitment and hard work, left an indelible mark on public education in Nevada.