Austin Peay State University is a public university in Clarksville, Tennessee. The four-year state university was founded in 1927 and was named for Austin Peay, who was the governor at that time. The university is now headed by the Board of Trustees. It is considered the fastest-growing higher education institution in the state.
The state authorized the Clarksville campus to be the location of Austin Peay Normal School in 1927. It was a junior college and teacher-training school named after Governor Austin Peay. While Austin Peay Normal School had limited resources, it grew in reputation over time. It eventually became the State Board of Education oversees one of the colleges and universities.
Between 1931 and 1943, Harned Hall was constructed. The Board of Education led the birth of the Bachelor of Science degree in the normal school after they authorized the school to adopt the new degree. The institution was renamed to Austin Peay State College on February 4, 1943. The board instituted the deliberation of the Bachelor of Arts degree. The state college began to offer postgraduate education in 1952. In 1972, the state Board of Education handed their leadership to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
The Board of Regents accredited the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in 1974. The degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing was accredited in 1979. Four years after, the Master of Music degree was authorized by the board. The Board approved the Bachelor of Professional Studies in 2001.
Austin Peay University experienced massive growth in 2000. The number of enrollees increased by a significant 52 percent during those years. Because of rapid growth, it became one of the fastest-growing higher education institutions in Tennessee. The number of students by 2009 reached its peak at 10,188 for the first time in the schools’ history. At present, the state university is known for its impressive undergraduate and graduate degrees. In 2016, the leadership structure of Austin Peay once again changed. The institutional Board of Trustees for Austin Peay was established. The first meeting of the Board of Trustees happened on March 30, 2017.
A catastrophic event happened on the morning of January 22, 1999, when an F-3 tornado hit Clarksville, including the APSU campus. While there were no reported casualties and injuries, the Archwood, Harvill, and Harned Buildings were gravely damaged. Uprooted trees were scattered on the campus. Classes returned to normal after a week. After three days, the university went back to its regular activities. The severely damaged buildings were restored and opened within a year.
There are six colleges, two schools, and 28 departments in the university. The colleges include the College of Arts and Letters, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Business, College of Graduate Studies, and College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Austin Peay University’s athletic teams are collectively known as the “Governors.” They participate in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Govs and Lady Govs basketball team have had an impressive performance in recent years. They are led by Coach Dave Loos.