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Alumni, Engagement, and Philanthropy

The division of Alumni, Engagement and Philanthropy includes the Offices of Philanthropy, Alumni & Annual Giving, Engagement and the Morgan University Center and Event Services. To view the staff listing for the Offices of Alumni & Annual Giving and Engagement, click here. To view the staff listing for the Morgan University Center and Event Services, click here. The staff of the Office of Philanthropy is listed below.

Office of Philanthropy

Kris Phillips
Kris Phillips | Vice President for Alumni, Engagement and Philanthropy and Executive Director of the APSU Foundation
Kris Phillips ('91, '21) returned to APSU, his alma mater, in 2016 after a 16-year tenure at the University of Tennessee and the UT Health Science Center. In his role, he oversees the APSU Foundation, Alumni and Annual Giving, Philanthropy and is responsible for all university engagement and fundraising activities. Kris and his wife, Tammy, have two sons, Brayden and Parker. Parker is also an Austin Peay graduate and a former Governors baseball player.
Vonda St. Amant
Vonda St. Amant | Executive Director of Philanthropy
Vonda is a 1983 graduate of APSU. After several years in non-profit fundraising, Vonda returned to her alma mater in 2010 and currently serves as the executive director. In her role, Vonda oversees a dynamic development team and provides donor-focused leadership to help meet the strategic goals of the University.
Kimberly Adkison
Kimberly Adkison | Senior Director of Donor Relations and Scholarships
Kimberly Adkison ('06, '10) is a Clarksville native and an APSU graduate with degrees in professional studies and management. She serves as the senior director of donor relations and scholarships. Kimberly oversees stewardship management and scholarship compliance.
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Rebekah Bishop | Senior Director of Donor and Foundation Operations
Since 2004, Rebekah has worked in development services, prospect research, alumni relations, donor stewardship, annual giving and event planning in higher education in Tennessee and Florida. She holds a bachelor’s degree from King University and master’s degree from Boston University. Rebekah oversees development services, prospect research and annual giving.
Vacant | Assistant Athletics Director for Development
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Erin Morton | Director of Development
Erin is a 2017 graduate of APSU. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication and a concentration in Public Relations. Erin served as the Director of Community Development for the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce before returning to Austin Peay in 2022. In her role, Erin works directly with the College of Business and corporate partners and donors to meet the strategic goals of the college.
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Lee Persinger | Director of Development
Lee Persinger (’91) is a graduate of Austin Peay. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing. She has returned to the University as Director of Development with special attention to the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences and the Woodward Library Society. Most recently, she worked in employee relations and human resources management for a large, local manufacturer. Earlier in her career, she worked with corporate and non-profit fundraising in the Nashville and Clarksville markets. Lee is a Clarksville native with many ties to the community and University. She is the wife of Bill Persinger, University Executive Director of PR and Marketing. They have two grown children, Lainey and Watson.
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Emily DeSpain | Prospect Researcher
Emily earned her bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in psychology from Austin Peay in 2015. She worked as a social media marketer, event planner and administrative assistant before returning to work at her alma mater.


Payton Baggett
Payton Baggett | Director of Communication
Payton Baggett ('14, '17) is a Clarksville native and an APSU graduate with degrees in journalism and marketing. She previously worked as a reporter for ClarksvilleNow.com and an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation before returning to Austin Peay in 2018. She oversees press releases, email marketing, website content, social media and printed materials for the division of Alumni, Engagement and Philanthropy.
Ashley Puskas
Ashley Puskas | Office Supervisor and Assistant to the Vice President for Alumni, Engagement and Philanthropy
Ashley is a native of Dickson County and a second-generation alumna of Austin Peay. She earned her bachelor's degree in 2010. Though she has a heart for earth sciences, her head is in business. Her husband Eddie graduated from the APSU Center at Fort Campbell in 2013. He is a veteran of the US Army. She is responsible for processing donations, assisting the Vice President and overseeing day-to-day activities in the APSU Office of Philanthropy.
Kelley Board
Kelley Board | Donor Relations and Scholarships Coordinator
In Fall 2006, Kelley earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. She entered the arena of higher education in 2017 and worked her way to the assistant director of admissions role at Daymar College in Nashville, Tennessee, before coming to APSU. In her position, she works with stewardship and donor relations. Kelley has a son, Richard Pardue III.
Hannah Williams
Hannah Williams | Philanthropy Operations Specialist
Hannah grew up in the military. After her father retired, she ended up in Murfreesboro, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology in 2019 from Middle Tennessee State University. Shortly after, she met her husband, Austin, and they moved to the Clarksville area. Since graduation, she has worked in Human Resources under the umbrella of staffing until joining APSU as a Philanthropy Specialist.
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Blythe Manuel | Data and Reporting Analyst
Blythe is originally from southern Maryland and grew up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Towson University and has worked in higher education advancement gift entry and data management since 2004. Prior to coming to APSU, Blythe primarily worked to support fundraising and alumni relations at service academies and other military focused schools. She is excited to utilize her passion for data, and knowledge of things like Scrapple and the proper way to eat Blue Crabs, to Tennessee.