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New scholarship seeks to honor late APSU professor


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The late Dr. Ed Irwin, an Austin Peay State University professor of English, was known to say, “Teachers don’t create good students; we just try not to mess them up.”

His former students and colleagues would argue that he did much more than simply not “mess them up.” In 1975, Irwin was named the first recipient of the University’s top faculty honor – the Distinguished Professor Award. In 1997, he became the only professor to win the award for a second time.

During his long career at APSU, Irwin earned the respect of faculty and students alike, and a group of those individuals is now looking to honor his legacy with the creation of a $50,000 endowment to fund the Dr. Ed Irwin Honors Program Scholarship. This new campaign recently received an initial gift of $25,000, and once it’s funded, the scholarship will be awarded to a freshman honors program student. That student will then receive the award throughout his or her time at APSU.

The endowment, once fulfilled, will also honor Irwin by naming a classroom after him within the University’s Honors Commons. The former APSU professor, who passed away on Jan. 16, 2013, was the first director of the APSU Honors Program. Students interested in receiving the scholarship will have to write an essay interpreting Irwin’s famous quote – “Teachers don’t create good students; we just try not to mess them up.”

Anyone interested in helping fund this endowment, which will honor Irwin’s legacy and provide countless opportunities for young APSU students, should contact Susan Wilson, director of major gifts, with the University’s Advancement Office at 221-6357 or

Photo by Kristin Ryan.