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APSU 2015: A Year In Review

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The year is rapidly coming to a close, which means it’s time to reflect on the progress made in the last 12 months. At Austin Peay State University, 2015 proved to be another fruitful year in the life of the institution. The University filled key leadership roles, continued to earn national accolades and began projects that will transform the school for future generations. Even Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam found time to praise the school, in March, when he said he couldn’t think of “a more important university.”

Here are some of the top stories that made APSU so important in 2015:

            • In early March, the APSU Math Jeopardy team beat 27 other schools to win the 2015 Mathematical Association of America Jeopardy championship. The APSU team earned 8,001 points in the competition. The second place team, from the University of South Carolina, received only 200 points.

            • On March 23, Haslam and other dignitaries visited Clarksville to watch Dr. Alisa White officially become the University’s tenth president. “I have been given an astonishing gift,” White said during her Presidential Address, “and my pledge to you is to do whatever is in my power to advance this institution, to work alongside you to build upon the wonderful work that you have done with others and to realize our collective vision.”

            • At the end of the spring semester, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) named APSU a Veterans Education Transition Support Campus (VETS). Austin Peay became only the fourth university in the state to earn the certification, which is awarded to higher education institutions that not only prioritize outreach to veterans, but also successfully deliver the services necessary to create a supportive environment where student veterans can prosper.

•  Dr. Ann Silverberg, professor of music, was named a Fulbright Scholar earlier this year. The prestigious award is allowing her to dive deeper into China’s musical past, as she spends the year living in that country. The Fulbright Scholarship is a program of highly competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, teachers and other professional fields. Since it was established in 1946, more than 360,000 Fulbright winners have participated, with approximately 8,000 grants awarded annually. Many Fulbright alumni have gone on to win major awards, including the Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize.

• For the fourth consecutive year, APSU was one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. In addition, APSU was the only university in Tennessee to make the national publication’s “Great Colleges to Work For 2015” list. Because the University was recognized in several categories, the University received Honor Roll recognition.

• Earlier this semester, APSU broke ground on a new $21.3 million, 46,000-square-foot Art and Design Building and Trahern Building renovation. The new building, which is set to open in 2017, will feature faculty office space, general purpose classrooms, a multifunction room, art studios, a photographic studio, a general art gallery and a student gallery. “This project represents a continued investment really toward first-class, world-class facilities at this institution,” TBR Chancellor John Morgan said. “It promises to make what is already a beautiful campus even more beautiful.”

• In August, Ryan Ivey, a rising star among college athletic administrators, was named APSU’s 13th director of athletics. In his previous position as athletics director at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Ivey was credited with helping transform a low-ranked Division II program into a Lone Star Conference (LSC) powerhouse. Last year alone, the Lions won a school record six conference championships in both men and women’s sports, including football, basketball and women’s soccer. In August, Ivey said that coming to APSU was “an opportunity that I do not take for granted and one that I will work hard every day to ensure we are moving forward.”

• APSU’s TRiO Student Support Services program received a five-year, $1.3 million U.S. Department of Education grant in September to continue helping first-generation, disabled or low-income students earn a college degree. APSU received the highly competitive federal grant after earning a perfect score of 106 in the application process. The program serves about 180 students each year, with the goal of getting them to earn a college degree within six years. Since its inception in 1998, the program has helped boost APSU’s retention and graduation rates.

            • In November, APSU President Alisa White officially thanked a local organization for its support by naming the third floor of the McCord Building, which houses the APSU School of Nursing, the Clarksville-Montgomery County Community Health Foundation Nursing Floor. In the last six years, that foundation had donated $1.6 million to the University’s School of Nursing, providing numerous resources and scholarships for deserving students.

            • This year marked the 85th anniversary of The All State, APSU’s student-run newspaper. “The All State is the longest standing campus institution that I can find,” Jake Lowary, coordinator of student publications at APSU, said. “It’s older than Harned Hall, it’s older than the Browning Building and it’s older than any student organization. This has been the cornerstone of Austin Peay’s heritage, except for the institution’s namesake, and the University has always been supportive of it.” During its 85 year history, the newspaper has courted controversy, as when its endorsement of Michael Dukakis for president in 1988 drew several letters of criticism, while also serving the public good, such as championing the Student Government Association’s legislation to keep Harned Hall from being demolished in the 1980s.

            Beth Liggett, APSU photographer, has created a photo gallery of the last year at APSU. The gallery is available at http://bit.ly/1YquiHH. To download a photo, the password is “public.” APSU photography also created a video, available at https://youtu.be/KhxAvnI-1PI . Please feel free to use any and all provided photographs and the video in your publications and online.