Go back

The 2022-2023 Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence Rick Griffith

Rick Griffith

Rick Griffith is a graphic designer and master letterpress printer. His work is an erudite exploration of language, history, politics, science, music, and ethics—typographically-focused and relevant,” states director of The New Gallery, Michael Dickins. “Known as a passionate advocate for design, Griffith joins us this semester as the Acuff Chair of Excellence teaching a course entitled Design History Praxis. 

Read a full story on Rick Griffith

About the Acuff Chair of Excellence

AcuffPublicDomainCroppedIn 1985, country music legend Roy Acuff generously established an endowment to enrich the arts community at APSU and in Clarksville Montgomery County. The result was the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence, which brings regionally and nationally acclaimed artists to APSU to share their expertise with students and the community in a dynamic atmosphere of unrestricted experimentation. The Acuff Chair rotates between APSU's four creative arts areas—Creative Writing, Music, Theatre & Dance, and Art + Design—and has been filled each year with residencies by nationally and internationally known artists since its inception.



Former recipients of the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence include: 

Sonya Clark, textile artist (2017-2018) - Art + Design

Scott McCloud (2013-14) - American cartoonist and comics theorist, author of the classic study, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.

Ian Berry (2009-10) - Contemporary art specialist, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator at The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

Linda Norlen (2005-06) – Graphic designer and critic.

George McCauley (2001-02) – acclaimed ceramicist.

Frances Whitehead (1997-98) – internationally acclaimed sculptor.

Jim Nutt (1993-94) – internationally distinguished painter.

Ted Orland (1988-89) – nationally recognized photographer/artist.

Sarah Kay (2021-2022) - American poet, Creative Writing

Dorothy Allison (2016-2017) - Creative Writing

David Huddle (2012-13) - Esteemed poet, fiction writer, and essayist.

Louise Erdrich (2008-09) - Renowned author of twelve novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. 

Michael Blumenthal (2004-05) – Internationally renowned poet and memoirist, author of Against Romance and All My Fathers and Mothers.

David Bradley (2000-01) – scholar of African American history and novelist, author of The Chaneysville Incident.

Carolyn Forche' (1996-97) – poet and global champion of the oppressed and downtrodden.

John Haines (1992-93) – two-time Guggenheim Fellow, poet and essayist.

David Madden (1987-88) – Southern fiction writer, playwright, critic and author.

Arthur Kopit (1986-87) – internationally acclaimed American playwright.  

John Rommel, trumpet (2018-2019) - Music

Gomalan Brass, world-renowned brass quintet, direct from Italy (2018-2019) - Music 

Warren Jones, collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and conductor (2018-2019) - Music

Miró String Quartet (2018-2019) - Music

Boris Allakhverdyan, principal clarinetist of the L.A. Philharmonic (2018-2019) - Music 

Lorna McGhee, principal flute of the Pittsburgh Symphony (2018-2019) - Music 

Charles Niedich (2014-15) - Music

Willie Anthony Waters (2014-15) - Music

Anna Celenza (2014-15) - Music

Orchid Ensemble  (2014-15) - Music

Jo-Michael Scheibe (2014-15) - Music

Rhonda Larson (2014-15) - Music

The Ying Quartet (2010–11) - String Quartet

Sydney Guillaume (2010–11) - Composer and vocalist

William Bennett (2010–11) - World-renowned flutist

Paul Schoenfield (2010–11) - Composer and pianist

Clifton Ware (2010–11) - Internationally known vocal pedagogue, master teacher, tenor soloist and author.

Cantus (2006-07) - An artist led, professional a cappella vocal ensemble with eight male members. 

Bodo Igesz (2006-07) - Famed opera singer and stage director of the Metropolitan Opera. 

Tony Plog (2006-07) - Conductor and composer with commissioned works from ensembles around the globe. 

John L. Whitwell (2006-07) - Director of bands, Professor of Music and Chair of the Conducting Area at Michigan State University. 

Lee Hoiby (2006-07) - American classical pianist and composer, one of the most notable living composers of classical vocal music. 

Elizabeth Walton Vercoe (2002-03) – Prominent 20th century composer.

Carol Scott-Kassner (2002-03) – Nationally known author of music education literature.

Dalton Baldwin (1998-99) – internationally acclaimed pianist.

Matthew Harp Allen (1998-99) – ethnomusicologist.

Donna Loewy (1998-99) – vocal coach/accompanist.

David Holsinger (1998-99) – eminent band composer.

Frederic Goossen (1998-99) – nationally known composer/music theorist.

Cedric Dent (1998-99) – Grammy award-winning singer, pianist, arranger, conductor and producer.

Tim Gerber (1994-95) – music educator and co-author of the popular text, Music! Its Role and Importance in our Lives.

Ron Nelson (1990-91) – nationally known composer of choral, band and orchestral works.

Ronald Keaton, actor (2019-2020) - Theatre & Dance

Antoinette DiPietropolo, director (2019-2020) - Theatre & Dance

Freddie Ashleydirector (2019-2020) - Theatre & Dance

Second City Fully Loaded (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Cheryl Sanders Cirq du Soliel (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Axis Dance Company (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Rick Berger (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Jeanette Lovetri, Somatic Voice Specialist (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Lishi Lou and Lucky, Too (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

David Weinstein (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Rachel Keebler (2011-12) - Theatre Design

Sarah Haas (2011-12) - Dance

Second City (2011-12) - Theatre Performance

Peiling Kao (2011-12) - Dance

Tim Miller (2011-12) - Theatre Performance

Keith Fitzpatrick (2011-12) - Dance

Annmarie Duggan (2011-12) - Lighting Design

Anthony Zerbe (2011-12) - Theatre Performance

Lawrence Goldhuber (2007-08) - Choreographer, dancer, actor, and performance artist who has worked in New York for more than 20 years.

The Second City Touring Company (2007-08) - Premiere comedy club, theatre, and school for improvisation.

Mark Block (2007-08) - The Southeast's premiere and most selective modeling and talent agency.

Annmarie Duggan (2007-08) – Nationally-recognized Lighting Designer

Karen E. Maguire (2007-08) - Highly accomplished actress, writer, teacher, director, and producer.

7 Stages Inc./Bernard Koltes (2007-08) - A non-profit theatre company that focuses on social, political, and spiritual values of contemporary culture.

Louis Fantasia (2003-04) – Internationally prominent actor, director, producer, theatre critic and arts commentator.

Kelly Morgan (1999-00) – nationally prominent actor, director, producer, choreographer, teacher and administrator in stage, film and television.

Elizabeth Van Dyke (1995-96) – multi-award winning actress and director.

Howard Stein (1991-92) – internationally acclaimed thespian, playwright and author.