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Equity and Diversity

East Tennessee State University

Certificate Artist


Artist, writer, and musician Nancy Jane Earnest cherishes her decade-spanning relationship with East Tennessee State University. When still a junior high student, she attended special classes on campus. After high school, she attended ETSU on a music scholarship, graduated with a degree in English, and then began study for a Master of Fine Arts degree that she completed three years later. After eight years of university employment as media specialist in the Reece Museum, Earnest began work on a Masters degree in Counseling. It was during this period that she was commissioned to design and paint the certificate that has been presented yearly since 2002 to recipients of the Dr. Patricia E. Robertson Diversity Award. An interesting note: the clasping hands that encircle the certificate are all modeled on Earnests own hand, with various changes in skin tone to suggest the diversity, yet unity of us all.

Earnest believes in the healing benefits of the arts. As a music volunteer in local hospitals as well as a member of the Healing Arts Committee of Mountain States Health Alliance, she observes first hand how the arts can have a positive impact on patient outcome, even as it they have enriched her own life through the years.

Earnest works out of home studio and can be reached at or (423) 773-1919.

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