Luncheon honors APSU supporters, community leaders

Luncheon honors APSU supporters, community leaders

jack apsu lunch.jpg

Autumn Allison, aallison@theleafchronicle.com 4:15 p.m. CST January 13, 2016

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Personal legacy and university and public service were in focus Tuesday at an Austin Peay State University annual event.

The sixth award-announcement luncheon formally recognized Josh Baggett and Jack B. Turner  for their efforts and support of Austin Peay and served as the preview to the Candlelight Ball.

“It’s really recognizing people who have made a significant difference for Austin Peay,” said university President Alisa White.

Baggett, a 2005 graduate of Austin Peay, received the Spirit of Austin Peay award that is presented to a supporter who is 42 or younger and “exemplifies excellence and integrity.”

He is a district engineering technician with Cumberland Electric Membership Corp. and serves as the district school board chairman. Baggett also is a former APSU football player and active member of the Govs Club.

“Austin Peay has always been a special place to me … I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do some stuff in my time as an alumni to help the university,” Baggett said. “ … I just hope I’ll be able to continue to give back to our university the best way I can.”

Featured guest at the 2016 Candlelight Ball and longtime APSU supporter Turner was named this year’s Wendell H. Gilbert Award honoree.

Currently, Turner is the president of nationally recognized insurance and financial services firm Jack B. Turner and Associates Inc. and is still heavily involved in numerous boards.

“I’m delighted, and I am honored and feel privileged to be here today and to accept this award,” Turner said. “Austin Peay is so important to this community … We have a great university here, and we are just getting started because we have the leadership now of Alisa White. She is phenomenal, as you all know.”

Turner told the crowd that the award was that much more special to him because of the man for whom it was named.

“I personally believe that Wendell coming back to Clarksville was a great movement in our city and our business community. Particularly because he went to work at Austin Peay,” Turner said. “ … It was the great movement that started tying the business community of Clarksville more closely united with the university.”

Gilbert, a native of Clarksville, is a retired brigadier general who after his military career became heavily involved in public-service aspects within the community and in advancement of Austin Peay as vice president for development and university relations. The recently opened veterans home in Clarksville is named for him.

After his graduation from Vanderbilt, Turner’s career saw him rise early to becoming the youngest charter life underwriter in the state of Tennessee and became the youngest-ever president of the Tennessee Life Underwriter Association.

Throughout his career, Turner has made an effort to be highly involved in Clarksville business, growth and education through a variety of organizations, officials said.

The Candlelight Ball is considered Austin Peay’s signature event that works to raise funds for scholarships.

In the 32 years of this event, more than $350,000 has been raised in scholarship funds, support for the restoration/renovation of Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill and financial support for the APSU Center for Teaching and Learning.

More than 20 Austin Peay students have been provided financial assistance and scholarships through the proceeds of this event.

“It’s the most fun thing you will be a part of,” White said.

This year’s Candlelight Ball will be at the Hilton in Downtown Nashville on March 12.

Reach Autumn Allison at aallison@theleafchronicle.com or 931-245-0248. Follow her on Twitter: @Aallison25. 

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