Clarksville, TN – On March 25th, 2022 Austin Peay State University (APSU) lost an important member of the University community – former President Robert O. Riggs. Riggs, 79, served as the University’s fourth president, from 1976-1987.
“While our paths never crossed, the effects of his presidency will forever impact our great University,” APSU President Mike Licari said. “Please join me in thoughts and prayers for Dr. Riggs and his family.”
In the years following his start as president, headcount enrollment grew 23 percent. Riggs was also instrumental in forming what is now known as the Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell, nearly tripling enrollment at Fort Campbell in seven years.
In 1980, Riggs implemented a landscaping project that had a significant impact on the atmosphere of the campus. One of the primary features of the plan included a bronze sculpture in honor of the late Gov. Austin Peay. That sculpture, the Sentinel (commonly known as the Green Man), was created by the late Art Department faculty, Olen Bryant. The sculpture and landscaping initiative continue to be major points of pride for the University today.
Riggs is also credited with facilitating the establishment of the two Centers on campus, The APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and the APSU Center of Excellence for Field Biology.