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TBR attorney accepts new post as adviser to APSU president

August 28, 2002

A new, Cabinet-level position has been filled through a system transfer from the Tennessee Board of Regents to Austin Peay.

Richard E. Jackson will serve as senior adviser to the president for diversity, affirmative action and legal affairs. He comes to the University from the TBR, where he served more than a year as the University's primary attorney in the Office of the General Counsel.

Jackson will work part time for APSU and part time for TBR until his position there is filled. At that time, he will assume full-time duties at the University.

Jackson's APSU responsibilities include oversight of affirmative action procedures, retention of African American faculty and staff and other special projects or initiatives. He will report directly to Dr. Sherry Hoppe.

In a restructuring plan for APSU's affirmative action efforts, it became apparent to Hoppe that it would be beneficial to the University to have an attorney on staff. While writing the job description for the new position, she recalled the TBR provision allowing transfer within the system without advertising.

She made the transfer proposal to TBR Chancellor Charles Manning and then to Jackson. Jackson visited APSU Aug. 14 to meet with all faculty and staff. The feedback Hoppe received after his visit was “overwhelmingly” positive.

A Nashville native, Jackson graduated from Maplewood High School in 1968 as valedictorian, the first African American to achieve this distinction in Nashville's newly desegregated public high schools.

Because of his academic achievements, he received a full Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship to Vanderbilt University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science. At Vanderbilt, he was active in the Student Government Association and was a charter member and president of Vanderbilt's first black Greek letter organization.

With a Council on Legal Education Opportunity Scholarship, Jackson attended and graduated from the University of Cincinnati's Aft School of Law, earning a jurisprudence doctorate in 1975. In law school, he was the associate chief justice of the university court and the principal spokesperson for the Black American Law Students Association. He also served as graduate assistant to the equal opportunity and resources development director.

During 1975-77, he was managing attorney for the North Nashville office of Legal Services of Nashville. In addition to developing a comprehensive campaign to inform residents of their legal rights, he volunteered on such governing boards as the Council of Community Services, 18th Avenue Family Center, Nashville Urban League, Leadership Nashville, Tennessee Black Leadership Roundtable and Metropolitan Social Services.

In 1977, Jackson entered private practice as a partner in the law firm of Manson, Jackson & Associates, Nashville, while also teaching part time at Tennessee State University, Fisk University and the University of Tennessee School of Social Work.

Jackson was appointed general counsel of Meharry Medical College in 1988 by then-president, Dr. David Satcher (now the U.S. Surgeon General). As Meharry's vice president for policy management and legal affairs, Jackson headed the college's legal affairs, risk management, internal audit, government relations, board relations and policy management.

In February 2001, Jackson accepted a position with TBR. In that capacity he has been responsible for the legal affairs of APSU and several other TBR institutions.

Hoppe said, “Richard worked with a number of Austin Peay staff and faculty over the past year or so. He has developed a reputation for being knowledgeable, fair and objective. We are pleased he agreed to fill this key position at Austin Peay, and I look forward to working closely with him as my adviser on affirmative action and legal issues.”

Jackson is the father of a teen-age son, Justin.