APSU’s Reagan Giving Circle honors late professor/Stewart County native with 2018 Women in Philanthropy Award
(Posted May 10, 2018)
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Whenever people describe the late Betty Joe Wallace, the often use words like “scholar,” “trailblazer,” “mentor” and “friend.” In the four years since the Austin Peay State University history professor passed away, another word frequently comes up—“philanthropist.”
Before she died, Wallace told her husband, John Chapman, that she wanted to help students from her home in Stewart County earn a college education at Austin Peay. In 2017, Chapman honored this wish by establishing the Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Endowment Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a graduate of Stewart County High School.
“She never had a moments regret for teaching, and this (endowing a scholarship) is what she wanted to do,” Chapman said last summer.
Several of her former colleagues also are working to honor her legacy by establishing the Betty Joe Wallace Lectureship Fund at Austin Peay, and earlier this year, in honor of the giving spirit that surrounds her memory, The Reagan Giving Circle awarded Wallace with its 2018 Women in Philanthropy Award.
The Reagan Giving Circle consists of APSU alumnae and friends who recognize that women, as donors, have the ability to make a tremendous difference at Austin Peay. Named for Dr. Carmen Reagan, APSU’s first female dean of the College of Business, community volunteer and philanthropist, the Reagan Giving Circle unites contributions in support of female students at the University while encouraging women as philanthropic leaders.
The Reagan Giving Circle offers scholarships to females who embrace the attributes of its namesake; academic accomplishment, community involvement and leadership in order to cultivate these women as leaders and celebrate the impact of this scholarship program.
Wallace exemplified all these qualities. She inspired several generations of students during her five decades at Austin Peay, and she also dedicated herself to making the University more inclusive. In 1968, she chaired a committee that looked at adding courses in African-American studies to the campus, and in 1978, she developed Austin Peay’s first women’s studies course. She went on to help found and serve as director of both the African-American Studies and the Women’s and Gender Studies programs. She won the APSU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Professor Award in 1989, and she spent much of her career training hundreds of the area’s history and social studies teachers from 1974-2003.
The Reagan Giving Circle awarded Wallace with its 2018 Women in Philanthropy Award (posthumously) at its annual scholarship awards event, The Young Women’s Leadership Symposium. Sponsored by APSU political science department, the Reagan Women’s Giving Circle and The Network, the symposium is a half-day event featuring keynote speakers, leadership seminars and the Reagan Circle Scholarship Award Luncheon. This year, more than 100 young women attended the event. Along with the 2018 Women in Philanthropy Award, five APSU students were awarded scholarships. The Reagan Women’s Giving Circle has awarded more than $50,000 in scholarship funds since it began in 2012.
For information on how to support the Reagan Women’s Giving Circle, or the Betty Joe Wallace scholarship or lecture series, contact the APSU Office of Advancement at www.apsu.edu/advancement.