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University Advancement

The mission of University Advancement is to build and maintain a donor base that will make a difference in the lives of students, faculty, and staff today and for the future. This enables the university to fulfill its educational mission by augmenting current budgets and building on the university's endowments.

Kris Phillips
Kris Phillips | Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the APSU Foundation
Kris returned to APSU, his alma mater (’91), in 2016 after a 16-year tenure at the University of Tennessee and the UT Health Science Center. In his role, he oversees the APSU Foundation, alumni relations and advancement and is responsible for all university engagement and fundraising activities. Kris and his wife, Tammy, have two sons, Brayden and Parker. Parker is also an Austin Peay graduate and a former Governors baseball player.
Vonda St. Amant
Vonda St. Amant | Assistant Executive Director
Vonda is a 1983 graduate of APSU. After several years in non-profit fundraising, Vonda returned to her alma mater in 2010 and currently serves as the assistant executive director. In her role, Vonda oversees a dynamic development team and provides donor-focused leadership to help meet the strategic goals of the University.
Kimberly Adkison
Kimberly Adkison | Director of Donor Relations and Scholarships
Kimberly is a Clarksville native and an APSU graduate with degrees in professional studies and management (BS ’06 and MS ’10). She serves as the director of donor relations and scholarships. Kimberly oversees stewardship management and scholarship compliance.
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Rebekah Bishop | Director of Donor Operations and Annual Giving
Since 2004, Rebekah has worked in development services, prospect research, alumni relations, donor stewardship, annual giving and event planning in higher education in Tennessee and Florida. She holds a bachelor’s degree from King University (’03) and master’s degree from Boston University (’09). Rebekah oversees development services, prospect research and annual giving.
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Jared Green | Assistant Athletics Director - Development
Jared comes to APSU from the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame where he served as their member engagement and development manager. He began his career at Ball State University Athletics, where he spent three years as the manager of ticket sales and fan development. Jared is a graduate of Indiana University (BS ’16) and Ball State University (MA ’19). In his role at APSU, Jared is charged with raising private gifts for the APSU Department of Athletics. He is eager for the opportunity to continue elevating the student-athlete experience at Austin Peay and providing the resources necessary to enhance the athletic facilities on campus. Jared and his wife, Ashlynn, have one daughter, Cali, and one dog, Chloe.
Jerica Swiger
Jerica Swiger | Director of Development
Jerica Swiger has worked in the areas of arts, culture and development for several years with organizations such as Ohio Northern University, Eastern Michigan University and The Chicago Architecture Foundation. Jerica brings nearly 20 years of experience in all areas of non-profit and higher education management to APSU, where she assists the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Behavioral Health Sciences and the College of Graduate studies with membership development, programming, board development and fundraising. She holds a master’s degree in non-profit management with a concentration in human services and a bachelor’s degree in arts management with a minor in management.
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Brad Averitt | Director of Development
A native of Erin, Tennessee, Brad is a two-time Austin Peay alumnus (BS ('10) in corporate communications and MS ('17) in health and human performance). He began his career at APSU in enrollment management, serving as an admissions counselor from 2010 to 2016 and as the coordinator of graduate recruitment from 2016 to 2018. He is eager for the opportunity to continue serving and strengthening his alma mater in his role as director of development, working with the College of Business.
Sam Mynhier
Sam Mynhier | Assistant Director of Annual Giving
Sam graduated from APSU in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication arts. After working as a leadership consultant for his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order, Sam returned to his alma mater in his role as the assistant director of annual giving. Sam oversees the University's annual online giving campaign and other fundraising initiatives.

Payton Baggett
Payton Baggett | Advancement Communications Specialist
Payton is a Clarksville native and an APSU graduate with degrees in journalism and marketing (BS ’14 and MA ’17). She previously worked as a reporter for ClarksvilleNow.com and an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation before returning to Austin Peay in 2018. She oversees press releases, email marketing, website content, social media and printed materials.
Ashley Puskas
Ashley Puskas | Office Supervisor
Ashley is a native of Dickson County and a second-generation alumna of Austin Peay. She earned her bachelor's degree in 2010. Thoughshe has a heart for earth sciences, her head is in business. Her husband Eddie graduated from the APSU Center at Fort Campbell in 2013. He is a veteran of the US Army. She is responsible for processing donations and overseeing day-to-day activities in the Advancement office. In her free time, she enjoys long walks outdoors, hunting and snuggling with her two dogs.
Kelley Board
Kelley Board | Advancement Coordinator
In 2001, Kelley earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. She entered the arena of higher education in 2017 and worked her way to the assistant director of admissions role at Daymar College in Nashville, Tennessee, before coming to APSU. In her position, she works with stewardship and donor relations. Kelley has a six-year-old son, Richard Pardue III.
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Emily DeSpain | Advancement Specialist
Emily earned her bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in psychology from Austin Peay in 2015. She worked as a social media marketer, event planner and administrative assistant before returning to work at her alma mater. In her role, Emily processes donations and is involved in the day-to-day office activities in the Advancement office.
Larry Wheeler | Business Technology Analyst
A military transplant, Larry made Clarksville his home after graduating high school. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in professional studies from APSU in 2002, and now has worked at his alma mater for over 20 years. His primary responsibilities are technical in nature. He maintains, reports from, and instructs others on the use of the Raiser’s Edge database and NXT web view.