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APSU celebrates 14 years with Director of Alumni Relations Nikki Peterson as she prepares for new career opportunity

Nikki Peterson

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Austin Peay State University Division of University Advancement has announced that Director of Alumni Relations Nikki Peterson (’04, ’06) will soon leave Austin Peay to pursue a new career opportunity. Her last day with APSU will be May 31. While in her position, it has been her department’s priority to engage alumni and current students and serve as ambassadors and advocates for Austin Peay.

“Although I am super excited to start this new chapter in my life and my family’s lives, it is going to be hard not coming to the Peay every day,” Peterson said. “This has not only been my career for 14 years, it has been home for more than 30 years for me and my family. I thank President Licari and Kris Phillips for all you have done for me in my career and personal journey. You, along with the University faculty and staff and our community, have supported me in an unmatched way. I also want to thank our APSU National Alumni Association (NAA), Candlelight Ball Committee, Tonya Leszczak, Janie Land, Lacey Dillon, alumni, donors and friends for allowing me to work with you. It has been a privilege to be part of the APSU family.”

Under Peterson’s leadership, Austin Peay has initiated new ways to engage with over 120,000 alumni including online newsletters and magazines, social media tools, an updated website and giving opportunities like scholarship support for students.

“While we will miss Nikki and her expertise, we are excited for her to begin her new career,” APSU President Mike Licari said. “I have been impressed by the efforts demonstrated by her and the Alumni Relations staff. Nikki will of course always be a beloved member of our Austin Peay family.”

During Peterson’s time at Austin Peay, the APSU NAA Board has increased its membership by over 100%. The number of APSU alumni chapters also increased by 100%, going from 15 chapters to more than 30 total chapters across the country. She also served on many committees like her current role on the University’s strategic planning committee.

"Nikki is a mission first type of leader,” APSU Military Alumni Chapter President and APSU NAA President Joe Shakeenab (’04, ’14) said. “She has inspired her staff to excel in alumni service and giving. The APSU NAA has become more engaged and impactful with her guidance. I have learned a lot through her mentorship and friendship, and wish her success in her future endeavors."  

“I have enjoyed working with APSU through Nikki Peterson,” F&M Bank President and CEO Sammy Stuard said. “I have attended many exceptional events that have been perfected by her and her team. This is especially true for Candlelight Ball, which has grown to become one of the most exciting nights of the year for our community.”

Peterson has helped expand the annual Candlelight Ball from an event with 150 attendees to now having 700 guests at the most recent Ball on March 12, 2022. Currently, the event takes in over $125,000 in underwriting each year and over $40,000 in live auction contributions.

“Although bittersweet for APSU, I’m thrilled for Nikki and this new chapter,” past Candlelight Ball Co-Chair Andrea Herrera said. “I have had amazing experiences working with her. She is one of the most professional, driven and talented women I know. She is a genuinely lovely person and she fascinates me with her ability to juggle multiple events and pull them together flawlessly! Though I will miss Nikki in her APSU role, I look forward to cheering her on in all her future endeavors.”

Peterson has helped Alumni Relations to create a consistent look and feel for the more than 150 events they execute each year. Events that have taken place throughout Peterson’s tenure include Govs Gatherings, athletic-related events, alumni foreign travel, career networking events, Homecoming events, alumni awards ceremonies, NAA and alumni chapter events, ribbon-cuttings, groundbreakings, dedications and mentor program events.

“Nikki has been the epitome of what an alumni director should be,” Vice President for University Advancement Kris Phillips said. “She grew up on the APSU campus, earned two degrees here and cultivated meaningful relationships with her fellow alumni and community members. We are proud of all she has accomplished.”

"Without a doubt Nikki Loos Peterson has left a positive mark on Austin Peay and the City of Clarksville during her tenure at the University,” City of Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said. “Her self-effacing humor, high standard of excellence and incredible attention to detail are why any event with her name on it was a resounding success. Cynthia and I will miss her ever-present smile at events and we wish her great success in this new exciting season of her career."

 “I am excited to begin this new venture and soon join Marcia Campbell, Casey Tenholder and The Campbell Group at Coldwell Banker (Conroy, Marable, and Holleman),” Peterson said. “I want to thank each of them for allowing me to be a part of this venture and continue serving the Clarksville community that my family and I love so much! I cannot wait to get started in this new journey but will always have in the back of my mind a good ole ‘Let’s Go Peay!’ ”

Peterson’s position will soon be posted on the APSU website and a search for the new APSU director of Alumni Relations will begin in the near future.

For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (931) 221-7979 or alumni@apsu.edu.

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