Austin Peay State University

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Austin Peay State University
Austin Peay State University seal.svg
TypePublic university
Established1927; 95 years ago (1927)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$22 million[1]
PresidentMichael J. Licari[2]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusUrban, 182 acres (0.74 km2)
ColorsRed and white[5]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I
Ohio Valley Conference
Austin Peay State University logo.svg

Austin Peay State University (/p/) is a public university in Clarksville, Tennessee. Standing on a site occupied by a succession of educational institutions since 1845, the precursor of the university was established in 1927 and named for then-sitting Governor Austin Peay, who is further honored with "Governors", the name of the university's athletic teams. Affiliated with the Tennessee Board of Regents, it is now governed by the Austin Peay State University Board of Trustees as of May 2017. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and, in 2012, was the fastest-growing university in Tennessee.[6] In 2019, Austin Peay officially hit 11,000 students enrolled.


Clarksville Masonic Lodge No. 89 sponsored the Montgomery County Male Academy. In 1845, the Masonic College was founded, and in 1848, the Montgomery County Male Academy merged with the Masonic College, taking the name of Montgomery Masonic College and Male Academy. This institution continued through 1855 when it was given to the Presbyterian Synod of Nashville to be operated by them as a male college and academy. The Presbyterians changed the name of the college to Stewart College, and later the name was changed again to Southwestern Presbyterian University. In 1925 Southwestern moved from Clarksville to Memphis, Tennessee, and is known today as Rhodes College.

The Browning Building at Austin Peay State University

In 1927, the Clarksville campus was chosen by the state as the site of the new Austin Peay Normal School, created as a two-year junior college and teacher-training institution by Act of the General Assembly and named in honor of sitting Governor Austin Peay. Located where Austin Peay State University now exists, the normal school continued the tradition of the site holding some type of an institution of higher learning longer than any in Tennessee west of Knoxville. Limited in purposes and resources, the Austin Peay Normal School gradually grew in stature over the years to take its place among the colleges and universities under the control of the State Board of Education.[citation needed]

Harned Hall was the first new building during the institution's normal school era, 1931 to 1943. In 1939, the state Board of Education authorized the school to inaugurate a curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Science degree. The degree was first conferred on the graduating class at the 1942 Spring Convocation. By Act of the Tennessee Legislature of February 4, 1943, the name of the school was changed to Austin Peay State College. In 1951, the state board authorized the college to confer the Bachelor of Arts degree and, in 1952, to offer graduate study leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Education. At the November 1966 meeting, the state Board of Education conferred university status on the college, effective September 1, 1967. In February 1967, the state Board of Education authorized the university to confer the Master of Arts and the Master of Science degrees. In 1968, associate degrees were approved. The state Board of Education relinquished its governance of higher education institutions to the Tennessee Board of Regents in 1972.

In 1974, the Tennessee Board of Regents authorized the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Education Specialist degrees. In 1979, the Bachelor of Business Administration degree was approved as a replacement for traditional B.A. and B.S. degrees in various fields of business. In 1979, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree was approved. In 1983, the Tennessee Board of Regents approved the Master of Music degree. In 2001, the Tennessee Board of Regents authorized the Bachelor of Professional Studies.

The university began to grow rapidly in 2000, leading to an increase in enrollment of 52.4 percent from 2001 to 2010, making it the fastest growing state university in Tennessee. In Fall 2009, enrollment reached a record 10,188, surpassing the 10,000-student mark for the first time. Today, Austin Peay offers graduate and undergraduate programs to nearly 11,000 students, and the 2016 acquisition of more than 10 acres has expanded the campus deeper into downtown Clarksville. In 2016, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the FOCUS Act, changing the governance structure of higher education in Tennessee and calling for the establishment of an institutional Board of Trustees for Austin Peay and the other five universities previously governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. On March 30, 2017, the university's inaugural Board of Trustees held its first meeting on the APSU campus.

1999 tornado damage[edit]

In the early morning hours of January 22, 1999, an F-3 tornado struck downtown Clarksville and the APSU campus. No one was killed, but the Clement, Harned, Harvill and Archwood Buildings were severely damaged, while many others suffered broken windows and roof damage. Some 130 shattered trees littered the campus and added to the gloomy sight of shattered buildings.[citation needed] Administrators announced plans to resume classes within one week, and the university opened three days later. Many of the heavily damaged buildings were reopened within one year.[citation needed]


  • John S. Ziegler, 1929–1930
  • Philander Claxton, 1930–1946
  • Halbert Harvill, 1946–1962
  • Earl E. Sexton (acting), September–December 1962
  • Joe Morgan, 1963–1976
  • Robert O. Riggs, 1976–1987
  • Oscar Page, 1988–1994
  • Richard G. Rhoda (Interim), July–October 1994
  • Sal D. Rinella, 1994–2000
  • Sherry L. Hoppe (Interim), 2000–2001
  • Sherry L. Hoppe, 2001–2007
  • Timothy L. Hall, 2007–2014
  • Alisa White, 2014–2020[7]
  • Dannelle Whiteside (Interim), 2020–2021
  • Michael Licari, 2021–Present


Academics at Austin Peay are organized into six colleges, two schools, and 28 subordinate departments and offices:

College of Arts and Letters[edit]

  • Department of Art and Design
  • Department of Communication
  • Department of History and Philosophy
  • Department of Languages and Literature
  • Department of Music
  • Department of Theatre and Dance

College of Behavioral and Health Sciences[edit]

  • School of Nursing
  • Department of Health and Human Performance
  • Department of Military Science and Leadership
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Social Work
  • Department of Criminal Justice

College of Business[edit]

  • Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics
  • Department of Management, Marketing, and General Business

Martha Dickerson Eriksson College of Education[edit]

  • Department of Teaching and Learning
  • Department of Educational Specialties

College of Graduate Studies[edit]

College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics[edit]

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Allied Health Sciences
  • Department of Applied Sciences
  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Computer Science and Information Technology
  • Department of Geosciences
  • Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Office of Pre-Professional Health Programs
  • Geographic Information Systems Center

School of Technology and Public Management @ Fort Campbell[edit]

  • Department of Public Management and Criminal Justice
  • Department of Engineering Technology
  • Department of Professional Studies


Austin Peay Athletics logo

The school's athletic teams, most of which compete in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), are known as the "Governors" in honor of the school's namesake. The school's popular cheer is, "Let's go, Peay!"

The football team had participated in the Pioneer Football League, but on April 8, 2005, announced that it was leaving the Pioneer League at the conclusion of the 2005 season and that the football program would rejoin the Ohio Valley Conference in 2007.

The basketball Govs and Lady Govs have a long tradition of excellence in the OVC.[citation needed] Coach Dave Loos has led Austin Peay to three NCAA tournament berths, on the way to becoming one of the most respected coaches in the conference,[citation needed] as well as its winningest[clarification needed] coach.[citation needed] Notable players such as Trenton Hassell and Bubba Wells continue to emerge from the program. In 1987, Austin Peay stunned Illinois in the first round 68–67, becoming just the third 14th-seeded team to knock off a No. 3 seed.

In July–August 2006, the Tennessee Titans had their first training camp on the campus. In 2019, the Austin Peay football team won the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) as well as secured its first-ever FCS playoff berth. It hosted the first-round game vs Furman and won its first-ever FCS playoff game. Then it traveled to Sacramento State for the second round of playoffs, winning 42–28. Making it to the Quarterfinals FCS playoffs, ultimately losing to Montana State University 24–10 in what was a Historic Season for the Austin Peay Governors football team, finishing with an 11–4 record.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. June 30, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2014.
  2. ^ "APSU Board of Trustees names Dr. Michael Licari as University's 11th president". December 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  3. ^ As of Fall 2009 semester. "Faculty By Gender, Tenure Status, and Ethnicity" (PDF). 2009 Faculty Data. Austin Peay State University Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 15, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  4. ^ As of Fall 2009 semester. "Total Employees By Employment Status, Gender, and Ethnicity" (PDF). 2009 Employees Data. Austin Peay State University Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. Retrieved December 3, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Austin Peay State University Official Logos and Trademarks – Usage and Style Guide (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Green, Tavia. "Austin Peay State University continues growth, Nashville State opens doors". The Leaf Chronicle. Clarksville Leaf Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Canning, Rob. "APSU's Tim Hall Accepts Presidency at Mercy College". Retrieved April 2, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°31′56″N 87°21′16″W / 36.53230°N 87.35457°W / 36.53230; -87.35457