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Four retiring faculty to be honored at president's dinner

8/27/2002
August 28, 2002

Dr. Sherry Hoppe will host a retirement dinner Friday, Aug. 30, for faculty who retired during the past year.

The retiring faculty to be honored are Dr. Camille Holt, professor of education; Dr. Tom Hamel, professor of mathematics; Dr. David Snyder, professor of biology; and Dr. Susan Simms, assistant professor of education.

An alumna of APSU, Holt joined the APSU faculty as an assistant professor of education in 1975, progressing through the ranks to professor. Through the years, she also held several key administrative posts, including special assistant to the president.

However, Holt always declined to leave the classroom entirely. Although she was willing to help with administrative work as needed, interaction with students was of highest importance to her.

She earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Memphis State University and both her bachelor's and master's degrees from APSU. Throughout her years at APSU, she was active in numerous professional organizations, as well as community, civic and church organizations. She is credited with an extensive list of published scholarly articles and professional presentations.

Dr. Don Luck, professor of education who is serving as interim dean of the College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences, said of Holt, “It may be kind of old-fashioned, but Dr. Holt demonstrates the characteristics I think of when the word ‘lady' is used—soft-spoken, courteous and kind with impeccable taste and manners.”

Now a Nashville resident, Holt has two grown daughters, Laura and Leslie.

Hamel came to APSU in 1971 as an assistant professor in the department of mathematics and computer science. He, too, progressed up the ladder until he achieved the rank of full professor in 1981.

He earned his doctorate in higher education from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. His master's degree in mathematics is from Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, and his bachelor's degree is from Fort Hays Kansas State College. He holds memberships in several professional organizations, has published scholarly articles and developed computer programs for Macintosh and Atari computers.

Dr. Leon McQueen, professor of mathematics and department chair, said, “Organization is a trademark of Dr. Hamel and, as a result, he was always well prepared. This applies to all his work, whether it be in traditional classes or his recent ‘in the lead' work with online courses. One could always rest assured any class Tom taught would be beneficial and ‘as advertised.'”

Hamel and his wife, Nancy, who also recently retired from her position as assistant manager of the University Book and Supply Store, have two grown sons, Paul and Dan, and three grandchildren.

Snyder joined the biology faculty at APSU in 1962 and soon became a principle investigator in the Center of Excellence for Field Biology, conducting vital field research with graduate and undergraduate students.

Among his many scholarly achievements, he is co-author of the popular book “Birds of LBL.” He served as department chair during the department's move from McCord Building to the Sundquist Science Complex.

Dr. Ben Stone, director of the Center of Excellence for Field Biology, said, “Dr. Snyder excelled as a field biologist, specializing in ornithology, but with a broad background in botany as well. He applied this background in relating nature's features to the beginning student, as well as to lay people.

“As a faculty member, he had the unique ability to motivate students and challenge them to attain their highest potential.”

Snyder earned his doctorate in biology from the University of Notre Dame at South Bend, Ind. He received his bachelor's degree and master's degree in zoology (wildlife management) from the University of Missouri.

He has eight children and six grandchildren and is married to the former Cathy Petty.

Simms has been on Austin Peay's education faculty since 1998. From 1970-98, she served as a principal at several high schools within the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System, including Pearl-Cohn High School, Dupont High School, Whites Creek High School and Pearl High School.

She has been active in many professional organizations, including Tennessee Professors of Educational Administration, National High Schools Association, Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development and Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals. She was a founding member of the Tennessee State University chapter of Phi Delta Kappa educational fraternity, serving as president, vice president and secretary.

Simms earned her doctorate in educational administration from Tennessee State University in 1985. Both her master's and bachelor's degrees in mathematics are from Middle Tennessee State University.

Dr. Carlette Hardin, professor of education, has been Simms' mentor through the years. Hardin said, “Susan will be greatly missed in the department. Her recent experiences as a high school principal added a great deal to our MA and Ed.S. in administration. We were fortunate to have someone who could connect theory to practice.”