Austin Peay State University president Alisa White announced June 18 she plans to leave the university to become president of Sam Houston State University.
“After six years of working with and on behalf of some of the most wonderful people we’ve ever known, Elliott and I will leave Austin Peay after commencement ceremonies in August to join Sam Houston State University in Texas if I am confirmed as president by the Texas State University System Board of Regents,” White said in a university-wide message.
“While we both are excited about the opportunity to serve another student-focused institution and to live near our children and grandchildren, we will miss Austin Peay. To be clear, we will miss you and our students.”
White became the 10th president of Austin Peay in June 2014.
She previously served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler and provost and vice president for academic affairs at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.
“It’s been a privilege to work with you, to learn from you, and to tell the Austin Peay story – your story – to our internal and external communities. Thank you for your passion for students, your dedication to our mission, and the manner in which you lead with excellence. Govs truly lead,” White said.
White has been an advocate for high-impact higher education practices that promote student success, and she has extensive experience in comprehensive course redesign.
Under White’s leadership, APSU experienced significant growth, added its first doctoral degrees and expanded the campus’s physical footprint.
“Although we are living in uncertain times, I have great confidence in Austin Peay’s board of trustees, the senior leadership team and the faculty and staff to continue to move the university forward,” White said. “Austin Peay is fortunate to have a talent pool that is both broad and deep.”
Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said White and her husband, Elliott Herzlich, would be missed.
"Dr. Alisa White has had a profound impact not only on our university, my alma mater, but in higher education in our state,” Pitts said. “During my time in the legislature and now in the mayor's office, Dr. White has been gracious and generous with her time and always willing to share her expertise. Her integrity, commitment to communication and focus on students and faculty success have been hallmarks of her tenure here.
"Personally, I will deeply miss Alisa and Elliott, who in his own right has become a leader in our community. Cynthia and I wish them well, pray for their continued protection and provision and look forward to watching her work at Sam Houston State University to make it the shining star in Texas that Austin Peay has become in Tennessee."
Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett said he will miss White’s energy, but most of all, he will miss the friendship he developed with her and Elliott.
“President White once said, ‘transformation occurs when the potential that is visible to some, becomes visible by all,’” Durrett said. “She stood by those words during her entire tenure at Austin Peay.
“She brought an attitude that Austin Peay was not just another university, but was part of the community, embracing local governments and Fort Campbell, to make Montgomery County a better place for all.”
The Austin Peay Board of Trustees will hold a special-called meeting June 26 to appoint an interim university president.
If confirmed by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, White will assume her new role at Sam Houston in early August.