Wayne G. Basler - 2005 Regents’ Award for Excellence in Philanthropy

Wayne Basler

Having a mother and father that were both teachers, Wayne G. Basler learned early on the importance of education. Basler's strong commitment to learning and keen sensitivity to the needs of his community.

Basler has been a longtime friend of this university. He has served in leadership roles in the ETSU Foundation, including service as president of the Foundation, and continues to serve as a member of the executive committee. He has also served on the board of visitors for the College of Applied Science and Technology. 

His philanthropic support has been wide ranging from the creation of two Chairs of Excellence, to an incentive scholarship program. Basler's first effort in ETSU's Chair of Excellence Program was setting up the AFG Industries, Inc., Chair of Excellence between the College of Business and the College of Technology. This particular Chair of Excellence is focused on entrepreneurship and business development. Basler was responsible for making this Chair of Excellence a reality, and he helped set the emphasis of the Chair to aid the region's business community. Through his generosity, he endeavored to enrich the lives of many students who might not be able to attend this university without the programs he has spearheaded. Basler created an Incentive Scholarship for technology students in the College of Applied Science and Technology.

His greatest and most unique gesture came in the creation of the Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric, and Science within the College of Arts and Sciences. This Chair provides for a series of scholars with excellent records of achievement in an academic discipline, in a performances field, in public service or in a profession, who will aid students in integration and connection of various fields of study. And he has energetically promoted this university and the opportunities it offers.

Basler is presently involved in several ventures, but is well known as the former director and president of AFG Industries, Inc. He received a B.S. degree from Iowa State University in Ceramic Engineering and landed his first job as a research engineer for Aluminum Company of America in 1956. From there, Basler went on to work for Ford Motor Company as a research engineer, glass development manager and production manager. In 1972, Basler went to work for Guardian Industries as their director of technical development. In November 1977, Basler was named president of Fourco Glass Company in West Virginia, which was combined with ASG Industries in Kingsport in 1978 to become AFG Industries, Inc.

Basler also served his country in the U.S. Air Force, receiving the rank of First Lieutenant. He was involved in Air Research and Development Command based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

He has three children. His son Eric Basler lives in Lenoir City, daughter Janelle Basler Green resides in South Carolina, and son Peter Basler lives in Alabama.