Lipscomb University alumni Kerri Pauley Edwards (’93) and Bruce Bowers (’72) will be honored at the 2017 “Lipscomb Honors: An Evening of Story and Song” on Nov. 9 at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
The Lipscomb Honors event begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception at Lipscomb’s downtown Spark facility, followed by a 6:30 p.m. dinner and program at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Cost is $100 per person, and seating is limited. The evening also includes performances by award-winning songwriter Jeff Stevens (“Carrying Your Love With Me” by George Strait; “Someone Else Calling You Baby” by Luke Bryan; and “Back When” by Tim McGraw). The event kicks off the university’s Homecoming weekend celebration.
The Lipscomb Honors are the highest honor conferred upon alumni and recognize the inspiring ways Lipscomb alumni are making a profound impact in the world.
Originally from Alum Creek, W.V., Edwards graduated from Lipscomb in 1993 with Bachelor of Arts in speech communication. She began her career nearly 20 years ago in the artists and repertoire (A&R) area with Arista Records, working with artists such as Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley and Diamond Rio. She moved into the publishing world in 2000 and spent the next five years as creative director for Deston Songs and Murrah Music. Along the way, Edwards also worked as production coordinator for Mark Bright Productions.
In 2005, Edwards launched KP Entertainment to manage Luke Bryan, who was an unsigned up-and-comer at the time. She helped Bryan secure a deal with Capitol Records, and his first single “All my Friends Say,” went to radio in 2007. Since the debut of his first album, Bryan has placed 18 singles at No. 1 and sold nearly 8 million albums with 30 million digital tracks from his five studio albums. He has been named Entertainer of the Year four times, twice by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. In 2008, KP Entertainment partnered with Coran Capshaw and Red Light Management to continue fostering Bryan’s career together.
KP Entertainment has continued to grow and its roster includes Nashville native Kelleigh Bannen, Warner Music Nashville artist Cole and ACM New Artist of the Year winner Cole Swindell; newcomers Jon Langston, CB30, DJ Rock, Adam Craig and Chancie Neal. Other joint ventures include a publishing arm with Sony/ATV that houses writers Michael Carter, Cole Swindell, Jay Clementi and Jody Stevens. Notable cuts include No. 1 gold single “Get Me Some of That” by Lipscomb alumnus Thomas Rhett; No. 1 platinum hit “Roller Coaster” by Luke Bryan; No. 1 platinum single “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight” by Cole Swindell, as well as others.
Edwards is a founding member of SOLID, a Nashville organization that started in 1996 and blends networking and educating future music industry executives with community service. She also serves on both the CMA and ACM boards. She was named the 2014 CMA Nashville Manager of the Year and was one of Nashville Business Journal’s 2014 Women in Music City award winners. In 2017, she was honored by Music Row as one of six “Rising Women on the Row.” She and her husband Chad live in Nashville with their two teenage children, Daisy and Stiles.
A graduate of Cumberland High School, Bowers graduated in 1972 from Lipscomb University with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education. He earned a Masters of Education and School Administration from Middle Tennessee State University in 1980. He also earned an additional 45 hours in school administration from Tennessee State University.
A member of the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame since 1992, Bowers most well-known for twice scoring 52 points in a game during the NAIA era, a record that was broken in 1992 when John Pierce scored 54 points in game. Bowers first scored 52 points on Jan. 6, 1972. He would later equal the accomplishment, scoring 52 points again during his senior season, and finished as Lipscomb's all-time scorer at that time with 1,650 career points. His athletic accolades include being named to the 1968 Nashville Tennessean All-Metro Basketball Team and the Nashville Banner 1972 All-City College Basketball Team.
Following his collegiate career, Bowers devoted his professional life to working with young people and dedicated more than 40 years serving as a high school teacher, coach and administrator with the Metropolitan Nashville School District.
He spent 13 years as a grade-level principal and 12 years as executive principal for Whites Creek Comprehensive High School. Bowers worked 10 years at the Board of Education as a middle school and high school director of human resources and the executive director of employee relations. He completed his last year with the board as the human resources minority recruiter.
Bowers also served as a state evaluator for the Career Ladder Program for administrators in the State of Tennessee, and became a Career Ladder III school administrator.
Bowers has been inducted to three Halls of Fame: Lipscomb Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992; Metro Nashville Coaches Association Hall of Fame Administrator in 2015; and Metro Nashville Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Administrator in 2016.
“We’re excited about this year’s Lipscomb Honors event as part of Homecoming, and sharing the exponential impact Kerri and Bruce have had on individuals and communities,” Phil Ellenburg, vice president for alumni relations at Lipscomb, said. “In addition to their inspiring stories of faith, perseverance and success, the evening will be highly entertaining. We will be showcasing a world-class writer who will perform and share the stories behind his hit songs. It’s going to be a fantastic evening!”
For information about the Lipscomb Honors event or to reserve seats, visit www.lipscomb.edu/homecoming or contact the Lipscomb University Office of Alumni Relations at 615-966-6212.