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Veteran APSU secretary shows team spirit with cheersand cheerful giving

April 15, 2003

On her desk, a lighthearted craft-fair doll pokes fun at an Austin Peay rival. A Peay Pride: Go Govs flag waves gracefully nearby.

You wouldnt know it by looking at her, but inside the calm and collected woman sitting just outside the presidents office beats the heart of a fierce competitor and one of the University's most vocal supporters. With 23 years of Peay Pride in her veins, Martha Woodall bleeds red figuratively as well as literally.
April 15, 2003

On her desk, a lighthearted craft-fair doll pokes fun at an Austin Peay rival. A “Peay Pride: Go Govs” flag waves gracefully nearby.

You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but inside the calm and collected woman sitting just outside the president's office beats the heart of a fierce competitor and one of the University's most vocal supporters. With 23 years of Peay Pride in her veins, Martha Woodall bleeds red figuratively as well as literally.

Woodall, executive secretary to the president, started out as a secretary in the APSU psychology department in 1980. She held secretarial positions in the graduate office, academic affairs, and planning and institutional effectiveness before transferring to the Office of the President in 1996 to serve former president Dr. Sal Rinella.

“I love working in the President's Office. It's always so exciting, because no two days are the same. I like the variety of people I get to meet and the things I get involved in on campus.”

Woodall continued as executive secretary to the president when Dr. Sherry Hoppe came to APSU in 2000.

“I love working for Dr. Hoppe," she says. " I just think she's a super person.”

Another “super person” in Woodall's life is her husband, Ray. They have been married for 35 years and have two children. Daughter, Kelly, is 28 years old.

“Kelly has given us three ‘granddogs,' Emma, Smokey and Heidi. They are precious.”

Woodall's son, Jeff, is 31. He and his wife, Michelle, have two children, J.R., nine, and Taylor Ray, three.

“I love spending time with my grandkids. We spend a lot of time at J.R.'s ballgames.”

In fact, their grandchildren dictate most of the Woodalls' activities. "We do whatever they want to doputt-putt, water parks, whatever.”

There is an exception to that, however. The Woodalls love Austin Peay athletics. They always buy season tickets and try to make it to most football and basketball games.

“I would go to more baseball games, but many of those are played in the spring, when it's rainy and cold, or during the workday.”

Woodall was thrilled this year with the Govs' entries into the NCAA tournaments but says that's not necessarily how she measures success.

“Anytime you can beat Murray three times in one year, you've had a good year” she says, flashing her characteristically warm smile.

In the past, Woodall has supported the athletics department with her contributions, but this year when asked to participate in Peay Pride Campus Campaign 2003, she went with her heart instead of her pom-poms.

She designated her gift to go to the President's Emerging Leader's Program, a four-year renewable scholarship. Woodall, who has worked with the program for 14 years, didn't want to see it diminished because of budget cuts.

“I knew we were running low on scholarship money, and I wanted to help.”

Woodall encourages her fellow employees to join her in giving to the campus campaign. “If everyone participates, it will make everyone proud. We could all take pride in the accomplishments we see. If you take pride, you feel some ownership for what's happening.”

She says she understands that some people may think their gift is too small to make a meaningful difference.

“It may seem, to them, like nothing. But when you put it all together and it makes a scholarship for one student, you can say you've had a part in affecting one person's whole life. Then you've done something.”

Ever the Austin Peay cheerleader, Woodall says, “APSU needs to be a team. Everyone needs to play his or her part, whatever that part is. When we all do that, we can win the game.”