Basler is expected to be recognized during the first quarter of the UT football game on Saturday, with UT officials presenting him with a plaque of appreciation. Contributed photo
KINGSPORT – Kingsport businessman Wayne Basler is a firm believer in education and athletics. Both his parents were teachers, he played football and ran track in high school and has endowed scholarships for every female sport at the University of Tennessee
On Saturday, UT officials plan to thank Basler for his years of support.
Basler is expected to be recognized during the first quarter of the UT football game on Saturday, with UT officials presenting him with a plaque of appreciation. According to information provided by UT, Basler is described as a “true Volunteer” for his support of the university's athletic programs.
Reached by phone on Friday, Basler said it was nice to be recognized by UT.
“(Sports) is the kind of thing I spend a lot of time trying to help,” Basler said. Helping women's sports in particular. “I've lived a long time and I never have figured out how in the world women were always relegated to be (cheerleaders).”
Basler said when he was younger, women simply did not have an opportunity to play the types of high school and college sports as the men did. For this reason, Basler has been a long-time supporter of UT athletics, having endowed nine scholarships at the university – all in women's sports – and was the lead donor to the renovations to the rowing team boathouse.
This past spring UT dedicated the “Wayne G. Basler Boathouse” in his honor.
Basler's philanthropic support extends further than the University of Tennessee. He has supported the creation of two Chairs of Excellence and an incentive scholarship program at East Tennessee State University. Basler has been the president of the ETSU Foundation and continues to serve as a member of the executive committee.
The library at Northeast State Community College also bears his name.
Basler is 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 in the U.S. Air Force, receiving the rank of First Lieutenant and was involved in Air Research and Development Command based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.comments powered by Disqus