APSU alumnus McGee donates gold coins to commemorate 50th anniversary of his graduation
Austin Peay State University alumnus John McGee certainly knows how to celebrate an anniversary. During his recent visit to campus for the Nov. 9 Homecoming football game, he donated more than $50,000 in gold coins to support his alma mater and commemorate his “Golden Graduate Year,” which is the 50-year anniversary of his graduation from Austin Peay in 1969.
“I just want to give back,” he said. “Austin Peay treated me kindly. It gave me the background I needed to be successful.”
While in town, McGee generously agreed to speak to a class of APSU business students and give them insight about the industry. His advice was, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” He explained the phrase, saying, “Your life will deal you a lot of hands, but how you play them determines what direction your life will go.”
“My real message is that going to Austin Peay will never be a limitation to your future success,” he said. “You can get everything that you need to be successful in life here.”
McGee is originally from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Shortly after graduating from Hopkinsville High School, he enlisted in the military. He served three years on active duty, two years on active reserve and one year on inactive reserve.
“When I got out of the army, I wanted to come back home for a while,” he said. Austin Peay was close to his hometown, so he enrolled.
One of McGee’s most memorable experiences as an undergraduate was serving as president of the APSU Student Government Association. While in that position, he passed legislation that established the student faculty review.
“It was very contentious at the time,” he remembered. “The faculty were not happy at all about facing scrutiny from students.”
As a college student, McGee lived in an off-campus apartment with his roommate.
“We had a blast,” he said.
When he wasn’t in class, much of his free time was spent water skiing on the Cumberland River.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in economics from Austin Peay, McGee went on to have a vibrant career in business. He worked for Chilton Corporation in Dallas, Texas, for 19 years, TRW in Orange, California, for five years and CSC Credit Services, Inc. in Houston, Texas, as senior vice president of sales and marketing from 1994 until his retirement in 2004. After retiring from CSC, he and his partner, Dr. Michael Kutsen, founded ER Centers of America, Inc. in 2006. ERCA was sold to private investors in 2016. During McGee’s corporate career, he provided a number of APSU graduates from the President’s Emerging Leaders Program with career opportunities within Chilton Corporation and TRW.
As an alumnus, McGee has been a loyal Austin Peay fan, attending many Governors sports games throughout the years. He also has served as a member of the APSU National Alumni Association Board. He and his wife Janet have contributed to the University through many academic and athletic initiatives, including scholarship funding for deserving students. The McGees currently live in the Dallas area near their two daughters and two grandsons.
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