APSU Board of Trustees
In 2016, Governor Bill Haslam named eight individuals to serve on Austin Peay State
University’s first Board of Trustees. These exceptional men and women joined the trustee
selected by APSU’s faculty and the student trustee selected by the Board, in providing
important oversight and guidance to this institution. This 10-member board replaces
the Tennessee Board of Regents as Austin Peay’s governing body, but unlike the TBR,
the APSU Board of Trustees focuses solely on this institution and its role in advancing
higher education in Tennessee.
The men and women who serve on Austin Peay State University's Board of Trustees represent a wealth of experience in both the private and military sectors.
Members of the Board of Trustees are:
Billy P. Atkins (Term expires in 2025)
Billy P. Atkins, chairman and CEO of Legends Bank, has spent more than 56 years in the banking industry. While still a student at Montgomery Central High School, he was hired by Northern Bank of Tennessee, and he went on to work with that institution for the next 28 years, being elevated to Senior Vice President and member of its Board of Directors, before seeing it sold to First American in Nashville. In 1998, when First American was going to merge with a larger institution, Atkins founded Legends Bank in Clarksville.
As a longtime Montgomery County resident, Atkins has dedicated himself to improving his community. He helped found the Economic Development Council, and as a member of the Industrial Development Board of Montgomery County, he has helped bring major employers, such as Hankook, to the Clarksville area. He also served as president of the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce, and he received that organization’s lifetime achievement award. In 1996 the Tennessee Bankers Association named Atkins a Leader of Banking Excellence
Atkins graduated from Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking of the
South in 1977, and over the years he has become a strong supporter of Austin Peay
State University. He is a member of the APSU Foundation—an organization chartered
by the state to financially support the University—and he served as the foundation’s
president in 1996. Atkins is a former chair of Austin Peay’s Capital Campaign, and
he is a member of several University organizations, including the Tower Club, the
Govs Club and the Red Coat Society. Atkins also serves on the State of Tennessee Foundation
Board for Tennessee Homeland Security and the Department of Safety.
Katherine Cannata (Term expires in 2022)
Katherine Johnson Cannata, dealer principal for Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group, is a Clarksville native who worked for Price Waterhouse in Atlanta, before returning to join her family’s car dealership. A graduate of Clarksville High School, she earned a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she played Division I tennis.
Cannata worked in public accounting as an auditor for Price Waterhouse in Atlanta for nine years. In that role, she was able to learn aspects of several different types of industries, from entertainment businesses to food companies.
Cannata returned to Clarksville to work with her father, the late Sid Johnson, in the growing Wyatt-Johnson dealerships. She steadily worked her way up, finally being named dealer principal of the company with more than 300 local employees. Wyatt-Johnson purchased the local Toyota dealership in 2012, adding that brand to the company’s list that includes Buick-GMC, Hyundai, Subaru, Mazda, Kia and Volkswagen. The Nashville Business Journal named Wyatt-Johnson one of Middle Tennessee’s top-earning businesses owned by a woman.
Cannata is an active member of the Clarksville community, having served on several
local organizations and as chair of the Aspire Clarksville Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Molly Howard, Student Trustee (Term expires in 2022)
Molly Howard, a nursing major, arrived at Austin Peay State University in August 2018 on athletic and academic scholarships, after graduating from Woodbridge High School in Ohio. In addition to running track and cross country as an NCAA Division 1 athlete, Howard has also found time to serve at Austin Peay. She is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, co-chair for the committee’s programing committee, a peer leader for the Athletics Mentoring Program and a volunteer in Austin Peay’s Child Learning Center. She is also a member of the University’s Student Nurses Association and a Fellowship of Christian Athletes mentor.
Howard, an Ohio native, has also committed herself to her new home – Clarksville-Montgomery County. She has volunteered at Burt Elementary School and at Austin Peay’s 3-D Face Mask Printing program, which provided needed protection to the state’s frontline medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her academic career, Howard has made the University’s Dean’s List every semester. She also is the recipient of Austin Peay’s Provost Scholarship and the Ohio Valley Conference’s Academic Medal of Honor.
Don Jenkins (Term expires in 2026)
Don Jenkins, president and CEO of Jenkins & Wynne Ford-Lincoln-Honda is an avid supporter of football and basketball, and he has served as past president of the APSU Foundation, co-chair of the APSU “Changing Minds, Changing Lives” Capital Campaign and a member of the APSU Presidential Circle of Advisors.
Jenkins attended Clarksville High School, and he later earned his Bachelor of Arts at Rhodes College in Memphis. He returned to Clarksville to work in a family business that, under his leadership, would become one of the top automobile dealerships in the nation. He is also co-owner with Clay Smith of Pennyrile Ford in Hopkinsville.
For six years, Jenkins served as Region 7 Commissioner for the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission. He is an organizer and director of Cumberland Bank, vice chairman of the bank’s executive committee, 2013-14 chairman of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Board, 2014-15 Chairman of the Economic Development Council, co-chair for two building campaigns at First Baptist Church and two-time chairman for Military Affairs at the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce.
Jenkins is often recognized for his business and philanthropic work, being named Tennessee’s
Time Dealer of the Year in 2010, 13-time winner of the American Cancer Society’s “Best
of Clarksville” award, six-time winner of the Honda President’s Award and 10-time
winner of Ford’s President’s Award. He was also presented with the 2013 Lincoln President’s
Award and the United Way of the Greater Clarksville Region’s Ben C. Parks Award. Jenkins
recently received the APSU Alumni Association’s Outstanding Service Award, the Alumni
Association’s Wendell Gilbert Award and the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Chancellors
Award for Excellence in Philanthropy.
Gary Luck, Ph.D. (Term expires in 2025)
Retired Gen. Gary Luck graduated from Kansas State University's School of Engineering in 1961. He was designated a distinguished military graduate and later commissioned in the Regular Army as a second lieutenant. He would go on to serve more than 36 years as a U.S. Army officer, retiring as a four-star General who had served in command assignments at the highest levels of the U.S. military, including Commander-in-Chief of Combined Forces Command Korea, Commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command.
Luck served multiple tours in Vietnam, with tours as a commander of the 5th Special Forces Group’s A-411 in 1964 - 1965 and as commander of C Troop, 3/17th Air Cavalry in 1967 - 1968. Luck is a decorated combat veteran, having received the Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star medal with 2 oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart. Following his time in Vietnam, he went on to serve as commander of the 182nd Assault Helicopter Company, assistant to the assistant secretary of the Army, commander of the 2/17 Air Cavalry Squadron, chief of the Force Modernization Division for the U.S. Army Europe and commander of 2nd Brigade, 8th Infantry Division.
Before retiring in 1996, Luck also held several other major command and staff positions, including assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division, commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division and commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm
Luck attended numerous military schools and courses, including the Armor Basic and
Advanced Officer courses, the Armed Forces Staff College and the United States Army
War College. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Kansas State
University, he earned an MBA from Florida State University and a doctorate in business
administration (ORSA) from George Washington University. Luck is currently employed
as a Senior Fellow for the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in support
of the Pinnacle, Capstone and Keystone programs.
Valencia May, DDS (Term expires in 2025)
Dr. Valencia May, general dentist and owner of Plaza Dental Offices in Memphis, graduated second in her class from Shelbyville High School, where she also participated in softball, track and basketball. She then headed north to Austin Peay State University, where she excelled as a student and was a walk-on for the APSU basketball team as a freshman.
In 1985, May graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry, with a minor in mathematics.
A few months later, May enrolled in the University of Tennessee’s College of Dentistry, where she graduated in the top 20 percent of her class. She then embarked on a seven-year career with the United States Air Force, providing dental care for enlistees at bases in Michigan and Mississippi. After leaving the military, she returned to Memphis to open her own dental practice.
In 2003, May was honored with Austin Peay’s Young Alumna Award. She is also a member
of the University’s African American Alumni Chapter. She is member of the Memphis
Dental Society, and she served as chair of that organization’s Dental Health Committee.
She is also a board member for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College
of Dentistry’s Alumni Association. She is a member of the Tennessee Dental Association,
the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association and Delta Sigma Theta
Keri McInnis (Term expires in 2026)
Keri McInnis serves as senior vice president and financial advisor for Pinnacle’s
Green Hills office in Nashville, TN.
McInnis began her career in financial services in 1995. She came to Pinnacle in 2002 from Union Planters Bank, where she was vice president and branch manager of its Green Hills location.
McInnis was awarded Union Planters’ 2002 UP Best Award in recognition of her sales performance and community involvement. Prior to Union Planters Bank, McInnis served for five years as senior financial specialist and assistant vice president at First Union National Bank, where she received the 1998 First Union Zenith Award. McInnis was chosen as one of Nashville’s “Top Thirty under 30” in 2002 by Business Nashville and Nashville’s “Top Forty under 40” in 2003 by The Tennessean.
McInnis is a 1995 graduate of Austin Peay State University (APSU) and is an alumna of the university’s prestigious President’s Emerging Leaders Program. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee appointed her to serve on APSU’s Board of Trustees in August 2020. McInnis also served on the APSU Foundation Board of Trustees and is a past member and founding board chairman of the APSU College of Business advisory board. In 2013, she was appointed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and served two terms on the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation Board.
In addition, McInnis is a Junior League of Nashville sustainer and has served on the boards of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra League, TN Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Nashville Wine Auction. In addition, she has served in various leadership roles with numerous other nonprofit organizations.
Robin Mealer (Term expires in 2026)
Retired Brig. Gen. Robin Mealer, an Austin Peay State University alumna, is director of the U.S. Army Manpower Analysis Agency at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She earned a Master of Arts degree in special education at APSU while she was professor of military science in the University’s ROTC program from 1996-2000.
Mealer earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from York College of Pennsylvania and upon graduation was commissioned as an air defense artillery officer, with orders to initial entry rotary wing training. She has served primarily in aviation and force management assignments at various installations, including Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Upon selection as a force management officer in 2000, she was assigned to the Pentagon in various duty positions in the Army, culminating with an assignment as the chief of the Force Management and Integration Division. She led Army chief of staff initiatives to transform and build Army force structure capabilities, develop a RESET program to restore strategic depth, gain approval on additional end strength and deployed to Afghanistan to assess Headquarters and Joint Manning documents of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. She was deployed to Iraq for 16 months to advise Iraqi Ministry of Defense General Officers on the development of their institutional capabilities to generate, train and sustain their forces.
Mealer assumed her current duties on Dec. 12, 2011, and as director, she is responsible for the oversight of all manpower determination policies and analytical methodologies used in manpower requirements validation for the Army’s generating force. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from York College and master’s degree from APSU, Mealer has a master’s in military science from the Command and General Staff College and a master’s in national security and strategy from the Army War College. She has attended a wide variety of military schools, culminating with her graduation from the Joint Force Staff College in 2010.
Mike O’Malley (Term expires in 2022)
Mike O’Malley, an Air Force veteran, earned his college degree from Ohio University. When he moved to Clarksville in 1988, the successful businessman saw how important APSU was to the entire community.
O’Malley came to Clarksville to work for Wendy’s of Bowling Green—a franchise operating 18 restaurants. In 1990, he became a partner in the business and helped it grow to 56 Wendy’s restaurants in four states. He was inducted into the Wendy’s Hall of Fame in 2010, and he became CEO and senior partner of Wendy’s of Bowling Green in 2012. The company has been the recipient of all of Wendy’s major awards, including the prestigious Founders Award, given to the top franchisee in the system.
During this impressive business career, O’Malley found time to support APSU in a number of capacities. He served as past chairman of the Austin Peay Foundation, a member of the Tower Club and a member of the APSU Red Coat Society. He is a long time APSU Athletic Department supporter and corporate sponsor of the Wendy’s Golf Tournament, benefiting the APSU golf program.
O’Malley has served Clarksville in numerous capacities, and in 2006, he was presented with the William O. Beach Citizen of the Year Award. He currently serves on the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Board.
Mickey Wadia, Ph.D. (Term expires in 2021)
Dr. Mickey Wadia is Professor of English in the APSU Department of Languages and Literature. His doctoral degree (class of 1987) is from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. A Shakespearean scholar by discipline, he is a seasoned classroom veteran with 37 years of teaching experience (25 of them at APSU) and the recipient of APSU’s two most prestigious teaching awards: The Socrates Award (1996) and the National Alumni Association Distinguished Professor award (2007). He regularly teaches study abroad classes and on-campus courses in Shakespeare; Technical Report Writing; Professional Writing and Editing; and English Composition. More recently, he has also begun teaching leadership classes in the President’s Emerging Leaders Program.
Dr. Wadia has made over 100 professional presentations across the United States and continues to be active in his profession and in his scholarship. He is also frequently invited to speak to student groups to motivate, engage, and empower them. At the invitation of the President of the Kentucky Speech Language Hearing Association, he recently gave a successful inspirational talk to high-achieving emerging leaders in Feb. 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky.
A London travel veteran and study abroad “expert,” Dr. Wadia currently serves as the APSU campus representative for CCSA, a study abroad consortium based at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, and, since 1998, has taken hundreds of students and community members to London, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. This spring, he was invited to teach a Shakespeare class in London and Paris (May-June 2019) for the Catalyst program, which is allied to The University of Western Florida in Pensacola. He has also been invited as the faculty representative to accompany APSU alumni in their travels to London, Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria.
Reflecting his administrative and recent leadership roles on campus, Dr. Wadia served as president of the Faculty Senate at Austin Peay State University from May 2018—May 2019. A recognized policy wonk, he was presented with a special plaque at the August 18, 2018 meeting of the Faculty Senate by then President Alisa White for 20 years of dedicated service on the Faculty Handbook/Policy Committee and for his service as chair of that committee. For two decades, he has been one of the instrumental driving forces behind policies governing retention, tenure, and promotion at the university and, most recently, was a staunch advocate for the new Healthy Workplace Policy, which went into effect at Austin Peay in spring 2019.