APSU to Have Increased Autonomy with Local Governing Board
Clarksville, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has appointed eight individuals to the newly created institutional governing board at Austin Peay State University.
The purpose of the appointments is to give the University increased autonomy to support student success as the state continues its Drive to 55 Initiative. Austin Peay State University’s governing board is one of six to be appointed by the governor, a result of the governor’s FOCUS Act passed by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year.
The campus of Austin Peay State University. (APSU)
The eight appointees to the board are:
Billy P. Atkins
Billy P. Atkins is chairman and CEO of Legends Bank. Prior to founding Legends Bank, he worked at Northern Bank of Tennessee and First American Bank in Nashville. Mr. Atkins is a current Austin Peay State University Foundation member, and served as the Foundation’s president in 1996. In addition, he is a member of Tower Club, Govs Club and Red Coat Society, and is a former chair of Austin Peay’s Capital Campaign. Mr. Atkins grew up in Montgomery County and has served as president of the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce and helped found the Economic Development Council. He attended Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking of the South.
Katherine Johnson Cannata is dealer principal for Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group. A native of Clarksville, she worked for Price Waterhouse in Atlanta, Georgia before returning to join her father’s dealership. She earned a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she played Division I tennis.
Larry W. Carroll
Larry W. Carroll is president and CEO at Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. He was the 2011 recipient of the Tower Award from Winthrop University and has been inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta Business Honor Society at Austin Peay State University and the State of Tennessee Legacy Society. Mr. Carroll is a 2009 Outstanding Alumnus Award winner, as well as a former Austin Peay State University Alumni Chapter president. Mr. Carroll received his undergraduate degree from Austin Peay and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Additionally, Carroll served in the U.S. Army. Carroll now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Don Jenkins is president and CEO of Jenkins & Wynne Ford, Honda, and Lincoln in Clarksville. He is currently the president of the Austin Peay State University Foundation, a role he also served in 2000. He is also a member of the Austin Peay State University Executive Committee, a member of Red Coat Society and a former Capital Campaign chair. In 2014, Mr. Jenkins received the Outstanding Service Award for his work with the University, and in 2015, he was honored with the Tennessee Board of Regents 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy for his service to Austin Peay. He is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis.
Retired Four-star Gen. Gary Luck served for more than 35 years as an officer in the United States Army, culminating in command assignments at the highest levels of the U.S. military, including Commander in Chief, United States Forces Korea and Commander, Joint Special Operations Command. He is a decorated combat veteran and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star medal, and Purple Heart. General Luck holds a Ph.D. from George Washington University, a master’s from Florida State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University.
Valencia May, DDS
Dr. Valencia May is a general dentist and owns Plaza Dental Offices in Memphis. Dr. May holds a bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University and a Doctor of Dental Science degree from the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry. She was honored with Austin Peay’s Outstanding Young Alumna award in 2003. She is also a member of the Austin Peay State University African American Alumni Chapter. Dr. May is a veteran of the United States Air Force.
Retired Brig. Gen. Robin Mealer is a director of the United States Army Manpower Analysis Agency. She was commissioned as an army officer and served primarily in aviation and force management at various installations, including Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She is a member of the Austin Peay State University Military Alumni Chapter and a member of the National Capital Affinity Group (Washington, D.C.). She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from York College of Pennsylvania and holds master’s degrees from Austin Peay State University, United States Army Command and General Staff College and United States Army War College. She resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mike O’Malley is partner and CEO of Wendy’s Bowling Green, a franchise operating more than 50 restaurants in four states, and has worked for Wendy’s International for over 35 years. O’Malley has served Austin Peay State University as past Foundation chairman and current board member, an executive committee member, a member of the Tower Club and Red Coat Society, and a former Capital Campaign chair. O’Malley was honored with the 2015 Outstanding Service Award. Additionally, O’Malley served in the U.S. Air Force. A graduate of Ohio University, O’Malley resides in the Clarksville area.
These men and women, if confirmed by the Tennessee General Assembly, will join Dr. Nell Rayburn, the trustee selected by APSU’s faculty, in providing important oversight and guidance to this institution. After they are confirmed by the General Assembly and have undergone board training by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the trustees will appoint a nonvoting student member to finalize the new, 10-member board.
“I appreciate Governor Haslam for putting together a truly outstanding board. The men and women nominated to serve on Austin Peay State University’s first Board of Trustees represent a wealth of experience in both the private and military sectors,” Austin Peay State University President Alisa White said. “I am proud to count among this group four business leaders, five veterans, of whom two served as general officers, and a doctor of dentistry.”
“I also want to express my appreciation to the regents and TBR staff who have provided excellent leadership to Austin Peay over the last 40-plus years. We will have many future opportunities to collaborate with TBR community colleges and colleges of applied technology as well as institutions governed by the University of Tennessee System and the other five public independent universities in Tennessee,” White said. “Tennessee is becoming a national leader in higher education, and Austin Peay State University benefits from operating in a state that has clear goals and initiatives to educate more Tennesseans. We will continue to support the Governor’s Drive to 55 initiatives, and we will continue to focus on student success.”
For more information, contact Bill Persinger, executive director, public relations and marketing, at 931.221.6309 or
About the Drive to 55
In 2013, Governor Haslam launched the Drive to 55 to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025.
As a result, the Drive to 55 has established the Tennessee Promise program, the nation’s first scholarship and mentorship program that provides high school graduates last-dollar scholarships to attend two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees; reduced the number of college freshmen requiring remediation through the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program; provided free technical college for adults through TCAT Reconnect Grants; created Tennessee Reconnect + Complete to help more adults return to college to complete unfinished degrees; developed a more comprehensive state approach to serving student veterans; and leveraged technology to enhance classroom instruction and college advising.