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Larry Carroll continues to support APSU with new distinguished professorship award

Larry Carroll

           CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On a quiet afternoon in 1973, a young Army private named Larry Carroll sat in an abandoned barracks building on the Fort Campbell Army Post, listening to a lecture on accounting. In the desk next to him, a lieutenant colonel struggled to pay attention while Carroll leaned out dangerously from his seat, trying to see past the support post that blocked his view. The accounting class, offered by Austin Peay State University, fascinated the 20-year-old soldier.

            “I quickly figured out that accounting was interesting, and that the instructor, Lawrence Baggett, knew who I was and was interested in my success,” Carroll said. “Three years later, I left Austin Peay with a great education and the tools necessary to pursue a career.”

            He did more than simply pursue a career. Today, Carroll is president and CEO of Carroll Financial Associates, Inc., a company that manages and supervises more than $2.5 billion in advisory and brokerage assets. In recent years, he has been named to Forbes’ list of America’s Top 200 Wealth Advisors, and he has been listed 12 times on Worth Magazine’s listing of The Nation’s Most Exclusive Wealth Managers. His success sometimes takes him to television studios in New York City, where he gives financial advice on programs such as the NBC Nightly News and CNBC’s Street Signs, but when he thinks about his meteoric rise in the financial industry, Carroll often remembers sitting in that abandoned barracks building, listening to Baggett or APSU business professor emeritus A.J. Taylor.

           “Austin Peay made a difference in my life, as it has in the lives of thousands of other students,” he said.

            A few years ago, Carroll decided to honor Lawrence Baggett, his former accounting instructor, by establishing the Baggett-Carroll Scholarship within Austin Peay’s College of Business. That award has allowed several hard-working students achieve their dream of earning a college degree. Earlier this year, Carroll decided to promote excellence in teaching within the college, while also recognizing another former professor, by creating the A.J. Taylor Distinguished Professorship at APSU.

          “This professorship is an effort to recognize and motivate excellence on the part of faculty,” Carroll said. “A.J. was, simply put, the best in-classroom professor I experienced in my college career. Even today, A.J. remembers more about me as a student than I remember about me as a student. Every university and every department within a university needs more professors like A.J. Taylor.”

          The newly created A.J. Taylor Distinguished Professorship will be awarded to an APSU College of Business faculty member each year who has demonstrated exceptional scholarly work or innovative teaching practices. The faculty member will receive the award in the form of faculty development funds and may use the funds for research, teaching enhancements (software, supplies, etc.) or for attendance at teaching conferences or training to improve their craft. The recipient will be the keynote speaker at the College of Business Recognition Dinner in May, or at a dean’s forum that is held during the academic year.

         “This recent gift is just another example of Larry Carroll’s dedication to his alma mater,” APSU President Alisa White said. “With this professorship, he’s recognizing the innovative teaching style of Professor Taylor, who has made a huge difference in the lives of many Austin Peay students over the years. I’m grateful for Mr. Carroll's continued support of this institution and for the legacy of A.J. Taylor.”

         In 2012, the Tennessee Board of Regents recognized Carroll’s years of generosity toward Austin Peay by presenting him with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy. Last year, Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Carroll to serve on the University’s inaugural Board of Trustees, and later this year, the University will open the Larry W. Carroll Trading Room in the College of Business’s Kimbrough Building.

        For more information on how to support APSU, contact the University Advancement Office at 931-221-7127.