John A. and Elizabeth A. Wyatt Endowed Scholarship to support APSU upperclassmen students
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Circumstances led John A. and Elizabeth A. Wyatt away from the classroom, but their hearts were never far from education — and Austin Peay State University — over the course of their lives.
“My father was born in 1912, and his mother passed away when he was just 17 years old, so he had to go to work at a young age to help support his family,” his son, Bill Wyatt, said. “But both of my parents were born and raised in Montgomery County and it was always in their nature to give back to the community and they loved Austin Peay.”
To pay tribute to their parents’ love of learning — and to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities the Wyatts provided to their children — Bill Wyatt (’70), an executive with F&M Bank, joined with his sister, Carolyn Wyatt Norman, as well as the children of their late brother, John Wyatt Jr., Andy Wyatt (’90) and Merri Scott Wyatt (’84), in making a significant gift to the University to establish the John A. and Elizabeth A. Wyatt Endowed Scholarship.
“We all made the decision to come together and participate in funding this scholarship because of how important education was to our parents,” Wyatt said. “They made sure we could all (attend college), so this scholarship can be for someone else who needs a little extra help.”
John Wyatt was a successful businessman in the area for a number of years, owning and operating over 400 acres of farmland, raising tobacco and corn, among other crops, while also running a beef cattle and swine operation. He also owned a successful construction company, and served as a tobacco buyer for Conwood Corporation until his death in 1978. His wife, Elizabeth Wyatt, was a homemaker, helping to care for the couple’s four children while maintaining an active role in their church and as a volunteer at Clarksville Memorial Hospital.
But despite their own success, the Wyatts never wavered in stressing the importance of education to their children, with John Wyatt serving on the Montgomery County School Board for a number of years. That emphasis on education would continue as they encouraged and supported each of their children — and four of their grandchildren — during their eventual matriculation to Austin Peay.
“Whether it was educational activities or sporting events, my parents were in attendance for all of their children’ school functions,” Bill Wyatt said. “My parents didn’t have the opportunity to go to college themselves, so they made sure each of their children and grandchildren had that opportunity.”
The new scholarship will be awarded annually to a currently enrolled student who is a junior in class standing and demonstrates financial need. Wyatt said the decision was made to support upperclassmen of all majors because the family felt it was important to help students complete their studies.
“There’s a lot of money available to incoming freshmen, but there aren’t as many scholarship opportunities for students nearing the end of their college careers,” Wyatt said. “I think our parents would have liked knowing they were able to help support someone who needs that extra support to achieve their educational goals as they helped their children and others over the years.”
For information on how to support this scholarship, contact the APSU Office of Advancement at www.apsu.edu/advancement.