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Alumni and special supporters to be feted at Homecoming; APSU family and friends invited

10/23/2002
October 23, 2002

On Nov. 9, five people who are special to Austin Peay State University will be honored during Homecoming at the annual Champagne Brunch and Alumni Awards Ceremony.

Friends and relatives are encouraged to make reservations to attend the brunch and help honor the 2002 award recipients. The brunch, which is slated for 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. under a tent on the lawn of historic Archwood, offers a prime spot to watch the parade.

Retired Brig. Gen. Wendell H. Gilbert, Clarksville, is the recipient of the 2002 Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes individuals who, through fund raising, recruiting, advocacy or faithful service, have brought honor and distinction to APSU. The recipient does not have to be an alumnus/a.

The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award for 2002 goes to Christopher G. Campbell, Jersey City, N.J., and the 2002 recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumna Award is Keri V. McInnis of Brentwood. This award goes to an APSU graduate, 42 or younger, whose outstanding accomplishments have brought pride to APSU.

For the first time ever, the APSU National Alumni Association will present a new award, the Outstanding Alumnus/a Award, which recognizes alumni who, through outstanding achievements in their profession, business, community, state or nation, have brought a high level of honor and pride to the University.

The recipients of the inaugural Outstanding Alumnus/a Award are Jack Jackson, Dayton, Ohio; Paula Wall, Fairview, and Bill Heydel, Lebanon.

2002 Outstanding Service Award

Retired Brig. Gen. Wendell Gilbert, who is chief of staff to Tenn. Gov. Don Sundquist and the state's deputy governor for homeland security, chaired APSU's successful, yearlong 75th Anniversary Celebration during 2001-02. Under his leadership, several subcommittees planned and implemented numerous events focusing on Austin Peay's history and future.

Gilbert earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a master's degree from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

A combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam, he commanded three battalions, two in combat. He served in key assignments with the U.S. Army, including chief of staff at Fort Campbell, Ky., and in the Pentagon's Office of Congressional Liaison.

Before joining Sundquist's Cabinet as commissioner of veteran's affairs, Gilbert served as APSU vice president for development for 17 years. Upon his retirement from the University, he was given the Distinguished Achievement Award, APSU's highest honor.

He has an impressive record of community leadership, including stints as president of the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce, president of the Tennessee/Kentucky Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, founding chair of Citizens for Fort Campbell, charter member of the Leadership Clarksville board of directors and a six-year member of the AUSA National Resolutions Committee.

Gilbert and his wife, Jean, have two grown children and two grandchildren.

2002 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Born and raised in nearby Elkton, Ky., Christopher Campbell is an attorney with Piper Rudnick LLP of New York City, where he specializes in products liability. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association.

Campbell graduated summa cum laude from APSU with a 3.9 GPA and a double major in philosophy and English. He was a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, staff writer for “The All State” and a member of the Philosophy Club. In Summer 1995, he studied at the University of Ghana, West Africa, through APSU Study-Abroad.

He earned his jurisdoctorate in August 2000 from Harvard Law School, where he was executive editor of the “Harvard Negotiation Law Review” and line editor of the “International Law Journal.” He was Harvard Law School Civil Liberties Union treasurer.

In addition to writing two book chapters at the request of the New York Bar Association in 2001 and a professional article on the alleged overpromotion of prescription drugs, Campbell wrote an invited article for “Austin Peay” magazine, offering his first-hand account of the terrorists' attack on the World Trade Center.

Campbell's wife, Tammy (Cowan) Campbell, an APSU alumna, attends Seton Hall Law School and, last summer, studied English law at Oxford University in England.

2002 Outstanding Young Alumna Award

A member of the second class of APSU's President's Emerging Leaders Program, Keri McInnis put her leadership training to use almost immediately after graduation.

Vice president and branch manager of the Green Hills Office of Union Planters Bank, Nashville, McInnis was included in this year's “30 under 30” list in the annual “Business Nashville” article that recognizes “Middle Tennessee's most accomplished young business and community leaders.”

She is active in the Junior League of Nashville and the Junior League of Nashville Home Board. She served on the Junior League's 80th Anniversary Committee. She chaired the Clinic Bowl 2000, which raised $40,000 for Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Center. As a member of the executive committee of Senior Citizens Inc. Crown Ball 2000, she helped raise $24,000 through a silent auction.

McInnis is a former member of the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, the Nashville Symphony Board and the Associate Board of Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. Among her honors, she was named the 1998 recipient of the First Union Tennessee Zenith Award, which goes to the top employee, and the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce 1998 Spotlight Award.

A member of the Brentwood Baptist Church, McInnis served as past chair of the Nashville Area Chapter of the APSU National Alumni Association.

2002 Outstanding Alumna Award

Humorist. Columnist. Author. Chemist. Environmentalist. Businesswoman. Paula Wall has enjoyed careers as all of the above—and more.

After graduating from APSU, she was the first woman hired by TVA to work at the Cumberland Steam Plant, initially as a chemist and then as an environmentalist. Three years later, she went to work as a salesperson for Nalco, a Fortune 500 chemical company—one of only four women among 1,400 sales people.

Wall's writing career began when she submitted some of her humorous essays to her local newspaper and was hired to pen a weekly column. In 1997, “Off the Wall,” brought her instant fame when the National Society of Newspaper Columnists named her Best Humor Columnist of 1996.

She quickly signed a contract with Universal Press Syndicate, the largest such organization in the world, becoming the syndicate's official humorist. Wall's readership exploded as her column was picked up by newspapers nationwide.

Her first book, “My Love Is Free…But the Rest of Me Don't Come Cheap,” debuted in September 1997. By December it was in its third printing, and Wall had a contract for another book with Ballantine Books, New York City.

The second book, “If I Were a Man, I'd Marry Me,” was published in August 1999—the beginning of another book tour that took her to scores of cities across the country. The life of a famous writer was becoming less fun with each day.

“Off the Wall” had become Universal Press Syndicate's No. 3 Internet column, with readership a bit behind “News of the Weird” and “Dear Abby.”

With the pressure of writing a wise but witty weekly column, Wall decided last year to leave the fast lane. She resigned as “Off the Wall” author, to the dismay of thousands of loyal readers from coast to coast.

Currently, Wall is assisting long-time love, the famed “Sweetie,” with the family business, Infact Corp. Additionally, she is nearing completion of her first novel.

2002 Outstanding Alumnus Award

Jack Jackson earned a master's degree in history from Austin Peay after receiving a bachelor's degree from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.

Today, in addition to his work as youth coordinator for Sankofa Corp., a division of the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority, Jackson has become a spirited speaker, taking his message of self-motivation to myriad audiences.

As head of Jack Jackson Motivation Inc., he recently spoke to more than 1,000 people in the Cincinnati Convention Center as the convening speaker for a conference sponsored by the University of Cincinnati.

In addition to working with the local housing authority and speaking through his company, Jack Jackson Motivation Inc., he is writing his autobiography, “I Gotta Say It.”

Jackson credits longtime friend Lou Holtz, former head football coach for the University of Notre Dame, with encouraging him to do motivational speaking. As an endorsement, Holtz wrote, “Listen to what Jack Jackson has to say. He has the answers.”

Over the years, Jackson has inspired many people through his work, community and church activities, motivational speeches, more than 25 published articles and his Web site (www.jackjacksonmotivation.com).

He is a member of the Association of Christian Athletes, Dayton Urban League, NAACP, Christian Appalachian Project, Kiwanis International, Full Gospel Fellowship of Businessmen International and the Dayton Youth Golf Academy.

Jackson was the first African-American president of the Eastern Kentucky University National Alumni Association. He was honored by EKU last fall when he was named to the EKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Jackson and his wife of 35 years, Shirley, have two adult children.

2002 Outstanding Alumnus Award

Bill Heydel graduated from Rockwood (Tenn.) High School, where he was senior class president and All-State in football his senior year. It was at Rockwood High he fell in love with June, his wife of 54 years.

The couple married after high school graduation and moved to Nashville, where Heydel had a football scholarship to Vanderbilt University. After two years, he transferred to APSU, where he earned a degree in business administration. After graduation, he worked for Burroughs Corp. until joining American Family Life Corporation (AFLAC) in 1964.

One of the original 20 founders of this Fortune 400 company, Heydel was charged with opening its Tennessee operation. As state manager, he was integral to taking AFLAC from a regional company to a major, international insurance organization. During his 20 years with AFLAC, Heydel broke every sales record before retiring in 1983 at age 50.

Also in 1983, Heydel received the prestigious Governor's Outstanding Tennessean Award in recognition of his contributions to business in Tennessee. This past August, he was inducted into the Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame by vote of his peers.

Heydel has an extensive history of commitment to his church and community. In addition to his longtime service on the administrative board of the First United Methodist Church, Lebanon, he was a founding member of the board of directors of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Corporation, with headquarters in Lebanon.

He has served on several other boards of directors including First Tennessee Bank, Cumberland Valley Communications, Wilson County Industrial Development and the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce. He was chair of the Lebanon Housing Authority and past president of the Lebanon Rotary Club and Rotary District Governors Delegate. A licensed pilot, he served on the Lebanon Airport Commission.

Heydel is a life trustee and a member of the executive committee of Cumberland University, Lebanon, where the Bill and June Heydel Fine Arts Center opened in 1996, a reflection of the Heydels' appreciation of both the arts and education. In 1992, Heydel was presented the Award of the Phoenix, Cumberland University's highest honor. Three years later, Cumberland University awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Currently, he and his son, Steve, are building affordable housing in Lebanon for first-time, lower-income buyers.

The Heydels have two grown sons, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The cost for the Homecoming Champagne Brunch and Alumni Awards Ceremony is $30 per person, and reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, telephone (931) 221-7979 or toll free at 1-800-264-ALUM.