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College of Arts & Sciences

Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence

In 1994, the Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric, and Science was named in honor of an individual who has continuously supported the university over many years. This chair helps to bridge the gap in academia between the sciences, the arts, and the humanities disciplines.

Chairholders serve for one semester, or the equivalent, allowing a number of individuals from a variety of fields to participate over time. The primary duties of the chairholder are to teach two courses, typically one undergraduate and one graduate, and to present four public lectures/performances.


Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m.
Art Can Save Lives
Basler Chair Lecture w/Dr. Eric Avery
Reece Museum

Tuesday, Mar., 26, 6 p.m.
Eric Avery, Dave DiMarchi, & Sage Perrott—Artist Book & Print Collaborations
Basler Chair Panel Discussion
Reece Museum

Thursday, Apr. 18, 5-7 p.m.
Epidemic: Dr. Eric Avery & Adam DelMarcelle
Exhibition talk, reception, & activities
Reece Museum

Wednesday, Apr. 24, 12-1 p.m.
Fold & Stitch: Making Simple Books with Eric Avery and Anita DeAngelis
TBA, free but registration required

Eileen Ernenwein Geosciences 2017-19
Katina Heil Literature and Language 2017-19
Scott Honeycutt Literature and Language 2018-20
Dan Westover Literature and Language 2018-20
Anant Godbole Mathematics and Statistics 2018-20
Gerald Deehan Psychology 2018-20
Nomination Procedure

Nominations are solicited from faculty during the spring semester; notification is distributed to the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences via e-mail. A nomination should consist of a letter of nomination and the nominee's CV. The letter should justify the choice, with emphasis on how the individual would contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of the position, and should addresshis/her public speaking and ability to interact with students. It will be assumed that the nominator has consulted with the individual and determined that he/she would be interested in the position, should it be offered.

Past Basler Chairholders
2017-2018 Dr. Liam Campbell 
2016-2017 Dr. Karl Hasenstein
2015-2016 Dr. Jeff Todd Titon
2013-2014 Mary Jane Jacob
2012-2013 Dr. Thomas Schmickl
2011-2012 Dr. Jennings Bryant
2010-2011 Dr. Molly Faries
2009-2010 Dr. Phillip Rhodes
2008-2009 Dr. Graham Leonard
2007-2008 Ivars Peterson
2006-2007 Dr. George Kampis
2005-2006 Dr. Martin A. Hendry
2004-2005 Mr. Mel Chin
2003-2004 Mr. John Blake, Jr.
2002-2003 Dr. John Shelton Reed
2001-2002 Dr. Anne LaBastille
2000-2001 Dr. George Gale
1999-2000 Lia Alther
1999-2000 Pat Cronin
1998-1999 Corame Richey Mann
1997-1998 Gustavo Perez Firmat
1996-1997 John Bowers

Dr. Eric Avery, Basler Chair for Spring 2019

Basler Chair

Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence in the Arts, Rhetoric and Science 

Art and medicine are not separable for Dr. Eric Avery, and he has found that they don’t have to be. Avery grew up with an artist mother and a physician father. After completing his own undergraduate work in visual art at University of Arizona, he found himself drawn to medical school, which offered an escape during the Vietnam War. 

“I was determined to show people who believed that artists could not be doctors that they could,” Avery says. 

Fortunately, he says, he had a printmaking teacher who encouraged him to try doing both. Forty years later, Avery’s world-renowned prints and installations are inextricably intertwined with his work as physician, psychiatrist, humanitarian, activist and educator. 

Since receiving his MD in 1974, Avery has made prints and played in a street band on the lower East Side of New York, served as medical director at a refugee camp in Northern Somalia and with World Vision, rescuing Vietnamese fleeing into Indonesia. He has been a human rights activist with Amnesty International to refugees at the Texas-Mexico border, documented the HIV/AIDS crisis through his prints and served as an AIDS psychiatrist and faculty member at Institute for the Medical Humanities at University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, retiring from active practice in 2012 but remaining faculty emeritus. 

Through all these experiences, Avery has made art, to “refresh,” to illustrate, to educate and to heal. 

Dr. Avery has visited ETSU in the past. He served as the juror for the 2016 FL3TCH3R Exhibition held annually in the Reece Museum. Programming with the exhibition included critique sessions with art students and a workshop with students from the College of Medicine. During the visit, Avery worked with graphic design students to design and print a brochure called “Are You Depressed Or Just Sad” which has been distributed through numerous channels across campus. 

During his semester in residence at ETSU, Avery will teach two classes and present four public activities, including an exhibition at the Reece Museum. His work during the semester will explore intersections between visual communication and public health practice to address the opioid crisis.


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