The newly appointed APSU Board of Trustees held their first official meeting Thursday, March 30.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam attended the historic meeting of the board he helped make possible through the FOCUS Act. The act allows each public university to construct their own individual governing board, as opposed to schools being overseen by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR).

The meeting featured mostly preliminary actions from the board, such as the official swearing in of APSU President Alisa White and the appointment of student trustee Crystal Wallenius, a senior chemistry major.

The other nine board members, eight selected by Haslam and one faculty member selected by APSU faculty, took their appropriate positions on the board as well.

CEO and Senior Partner of Wendy’s of Bowling Green Mike O’Malley was selected by board members as chairman of the board. Katherine Cannata, dealer principal for Wyatt Johnson Automotive Group, was selected as the vice chairman.

Other board members include professor Paulanell Rayburn of the mathematics department, retired four-star U.S. Army General Gary Luck and President and CEO of Jenkins & Wynne Don Jenkins and Legends Bank CEO Billy Atkins.

The remaining board members are all APSU alumni and include Larry Carroll, Valencia May and Robin Mealer, a retired brigadier general.

“I think we are incredibly well positioned in terms of our board,” White said of the board members selected to represent the university. “I think we are really in good shape.”

White said she believes the various backgrounds of each board member will allow APSU to function better as an independent institution.

Speaking on the selection of the student trustee, White said she wanted to “cast the net wide enough” to find the right person for the role.

The final three candidates were presented to board member, who ultimately selected Crystal Wallenius.

“I hoped that I would be picked, but the other two candidates are amazing people,” Wallenius said.

As the student trustee, Wallenius does not have a vote on the board, but will represent the voice of the student body more directly.

“I just want to represent everybody on campus and not target a specific type of student. So if something does come up that I feel doesn’t reflect the entire student body, I’m going to voice my opinion.”

Per the FOCUS Act, the APSU board will meet quarterly, with the next meeting scheduled for May 18-19.

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