Austin Peay State University is a comprehensive university located at 601 College Street in Clarksville, Tennessee. It is one of 46 institutions operated by the Tennessee Board of Regents system - the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation.
Since opening in 1927, the university has been committed to raising the educational achievement of the citizenry, developing programs and services that address regional needs, and providing joint opportunities that connect university expertise with private and public resources.
The university was formed as the result of the former move of Southwestern Presbyterian College to Memphis in 1925 (where it is now known as Rhodes College), abandoning its former campus in Clarksville.
Austin Peay was founded in 1927, as Austin Peay Normal School – the teacher-training institution and two-year junior college.
The state of Tennessee purchased the facility in 1929, and gave the name “Austin Peay State Normal School for Rural White Teachers “, in honor of Austin Peay who served as governor of Tennessee from 1923 until his death, in 1927.
The institution grew greatly in the late 1940s and 1950s, largely due to veterans attending college under the G.I. Bill of Rights. The bill gave the school a large number of male students for the first time, since teaching, at the time, was a largely-female occupation.
Racial integration, among other factors, led to a name change to “Austin Peay State College,” in 1943.
Several fields of study in areas beyond teaching were introduced into the curriculum at that time. The institution was granted university status, in 1967.
The campus of Austin Peay State University was also the site of Clarksville`s first educational institutions. Initially were the Rural Academy (1806-1810) and Mount Pleasant Academy (1811-1824). Later, Clarksville Academy (1825-1848), Masonic College, (1849-1850), Montgomery County Masonic College, (1851-1854), and Stewart College (1855-1874) occupied the campus until the arrival of Southwestern Presbyterian University (1875-1925).
This accredited public university offers high-quality undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional programs designed to promote critical thinking, communication skills, creativity, and leadership.
These diverse degree programs include 40 majors with more than 70 different areas of concentration with classes offered online and at the APSU Fort Campbell Center.
Austin Peay State University is now organized as the college of arts and letters, the college of graduate studies, the college of professional programs and social sciences, the college of science and mathematics, and the school of technology and public management. It has more than 8600 students and a student/faculty ratio of 17:1.
The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It has earned approvals from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Tennessee Department of Health – Board of Nursing, the National Accrediting Association for Laboratory Science, and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. APSU is also a recognized member of the National Association of Schools of Music.
The campus encompasses a first-class science-education complex, university center, village-style housing, Robert F. Sears Memorial Planetarium, a museum of zoology, and a herbarium.
Two accomplished Centers of Excellence (creative arts and biology) and four Chairs of Excellence (creative arts, nursing, and two in business) are also located here.
Operated by the Follett Higher Education Group, the Book and Supply Store provides the books and materials needed in the educational process for students, faculty, and staff.
The university’s athletic teams, which compete in the Ohio Valley Conference, NCAA Division I and in the Pioneer Football League, are known by the name "Governors,” in honor of its namesake.