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Alum creates endowed scholarship in geography

November 5, 2001

The endowment is provided from funds from a living trust established by Dr. James Woodall Taylor and Mrs. Avo Head Taylor of Cedar Hill. The Taylors designated that their home, five acres of land and securities be given to APSU. Interest from the endowment will provide scholarships to students majoring in geography, with preference given to students from Montgomery, Robertson and Sumner counties.

"I am very pleased and appreciative of Dr. and Mrs. Taylor's desire to create scholarships for students majoring in geography," said Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president. "This type of planned giving is an excellent way for donors to continue to use their resources while ensuring that their estate will benefit students in the future."

"Endowments such as this provide a gift over and over again through the income they generate. Many students will have the opportunity to attend Austin Peay for years to come as a result of this generous gift," said Hoppe.

A 1947 alumnus of APSU, Dr. Taylor said, "Austin Peay Normal School helped me get a good education in ways I could not help myself. During the late 1930s, unemployment in the United States was about 25 percent, and I couldn't get a job to support myself.

"Austin Peay Normal School put me on National Youth Administration and the next quarter gave me a job washing dishes in the cafeteria. These jobs provided my food, and I borrowed money to pay my registration and textbook rental."

While at APSU, Dr. Taylor completed an associate's degree and taught for one year. Then the military called. He signed up for a year but served 54 months during World War II. After the war, he returned to APSU to complete his bachelor's degree.

With a bachelor of science degree in education and a double major in science and English, Taylor undertook post-graduate work at Syracuse University, where he received a master's degree, and Indiana University where he earned a doctorate in geography.

He spent his career teaching geography at Peabody College, Memphis State University, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Western Kentucky University.

According to the Taylors, they always will have fond memories of APSU because of the relationships they developed and the teachers who touched their lives.

"At APSU we had small classes, so we got to know the teachers and they got to know us. This left emotional and psychological bonds to the University. I remember Mr. Spafford, Mr. Law, Mr. Bond, Mr. Woodward, Ms. Huff and Mr. Moffit. Their interest in the individual student was outstanding," said Dr. Taylor.

"There are still students in Sumner, Robertson and Montgomery counties who are unable to attend college financially. A scholarship program to help these worthy students obtain an education-a good knowledge of the world in which we live-will repay in a small way the debt I owe to my alma mater and the state of Tennessee.

"The education I received has enabled me to live a happy, successful and productive life for which I am grateful," said Dr. Taylor.