Dr. Alisa White was named the 2017 Distinguished Alumna of the Year during the President Circle Luncheon at Lee University’s Homecoming. This award is the highest honor given by the university to alumni and is given to a graduate who is making advancement in his or her career, while also embracing the values that Lee embodies.
"Dr. White came to the attention of the committee because of her outstanding work as a higher education administrator,” said Dr. Jerome Hammond, vice president of University Relations. “She was chosen as this year’s recipient because she consistently embodies the core values of Lee; and as an alumnus, makes significant contributions to Lee’s welfare, reputation, and prestige.”
Dr. White, who currently serves as the president of Austin Peay State University, is an advocate for high-impact higher education practices that promote student success. She has served as a consultant for city governments and Fortune 500 companies, offering workshops on leadership, conflict negotiation, and creative management.
She has also served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler, as well as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Midwestern State University.
In her acceptance speech, Dr. White said she has watched with great pride as her alma mater, Lee University, has become one of the leading universities in the country. She praised Lee for preparing her by performing a rare feat in higher education, developing her as a person. Paraphrasing the late W.E. Du Bois, she said, “Lee doesn’t take people and turn them into attorneys, teachers, and doctors. Lee takes attorneys, teachers, and doctors and turns them into people. This is Lee’s greatness.”
Prior to joining the Austin Peay faculty, Dr. White served institutions such as the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Louisiana State University, the University of West Georgia, the University of Texas at Arlington, MSU, and UTT, as a professor, department chair, graduate adviser, dean, and provost.
With extensive experience in comprehensive course redesign, Dr. White’s research has been published in scholarly journals including the Journal of Advertising Research, the Journal of Advertising Education, and the Journal of Creative Behavior.
Dr. White earned her Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, her Master of Science from UTK, and her Bachelor of Arts in business at Lee.