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APSU president shares inside look at personal life

» By Chelsea Leonard

Features Editor

APSU President Alisa White is the 10th person to call Archwood, the house nestled between the Claxton and Sundquist Buildings, home.

“I am fortunate enough to be able to walk outside my door and actually see this vibrant campus,” White said. “And when I go inside, I can look out the back window when I’m washing dishes. I have this real sense when I’m there that I’m home. My husband describes it as [living] with 10,000 students.”

If you want to pay a visit, you may find her inside playing the baby grand piano.

White has a background in music. In her undergrad years, she sang with an audition choir and toured the U.S., as well as Mexico. She is an alto.

White uses Pandora or iTunes when listening to music. “I either put in Il Divo, Canadian Tenors or Sarah McLaughlin,” White said. When driving, she listens to Symphony Hall on Sirius XM, because “it’s rich, but able to be on in the background.”

However, White’s music taste isn’t always so formal. “I like Pink Floyd and Queen, the old rock ‘n’ roll,” White said. “I listen to some things current because I have a 19-year-old son.  I’ve been able to keep up with some of that just from him.”

White keeps up with pop culture by watching Saturday Night Live. Her favorite guest hosts are Justin Timberlake and Melissa McCarthy.

White uses the Pulse App to stay abreast of the latest news. She browses USA Today, All Things Digital, Associate Press Politics, Hollywood Reporter and Bon Appétit daily to get a rounded sense of world events.

White reads The Leaf Chronicle daily and occasionally reads The Tennessean.

Many students remember hearing the sound of previous presidents’ dogs barking at passersby through the fence surrounding Archwood.

“When we moved here, my husband said, ‘I want another dog,’” White said.

Before choosing APSU, White and her husband, Elliot, whom she more affectionately calls “Eli,” had a dog named Bo Duddley, after the American R&B vocalist Bo Diddley. The dog is now under the care of White’s daughter, Rachel, who is a veterinarian in Texas.

White and her husband have an affinity for coffee.

While visiting her brother-in-law in France, White was exposed to the Nespresso machine, an efficient home coffee device that pulls a simple shot of espresso. “[In France], I drank it every day,” White said. “The first thing we did when we got home was buy one.”

One of these machines found its way into White’s office. If you’re lucky, she may let you try a cup.

As president, it is White’s duty to become familiar with the degree programs offered.

She exceeds familiarity with curiosity: an eagerness to learn as much as possible while she serves at APSU.

“Think of all the expertise on this campus,” White said. “We have scientists and musicians and artists and writers who are just tops in their fields; they’re really expert. So one of the things I get to do, not because I’m president, because I’m part of that university community, is learn about them.”

White said she is interested in every department, regardless of personal taste. 

She has a connection with students who are studying the courses she is passionate about, but also is intrigued by students in fields she has never explored.

For White, the quest for knowledge is never over.

“I love hearing from other people about what they’re interested in,” White said. “I’m trying to learn the most that I can.”

For more information on White’s personal and professional lives, you can follow her Twitter account, @APSUPresWhite.

About Chelsea Leonard

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