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APSU Arts & Letters launches ‘Govs on the Go: Legacy Series’ podcast

By: Kara Zahn July 1, 2024

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The first interviewees of the upcoming ‘Govs on the Go: Legacy Series’ podcast, clockwise from left: Dr. Solie Fott, Dr. Jim Diehr and Dr. Ellen Kanervo.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. Austin Peay State University (APSU)'s College of Arts and Letters has announced its latest podcast, 'Govs on the Go: Legacy Series,' which will premiere in the Fall 2024 semester.

The public is invited to attend the podcast’s first recording at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10, in front of the iconic Harned Hall on Austin Peay’s campus. Dr. William “Buzz” Hoon, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, will interview three esteemed guests: Dr. Solie Fott, Dr. Jim Diehr and Dr. Ellen Kanervo.

This will be Hoon’s third ‘Govs on the Go’ series, joining existing podcasts that showcase interviews with Austin Peay alumni and faculty members. The Legacy Series will celebrate retirees who have dedicated themselves to improving the university, the college and the Clarksville community. 

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Dr. Solie Fott, former chair of the APSU Department of Music, helped establish the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and is a longtime supporter of the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center.

Dr. Solie Fott retired from APSU in 2000 after more than four decades of service, during which he was elected to be the founding president of the faculty senate, helped to establish the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and chaired the Department of Music for 20 years. He originally came to Clarksville in 1958 for a supposed "one-year" teaching position at APSU, which turned into a long and impactful tenure. Alongside conducting the orchestra and teaching various string courses, he enjoyed teaching music appreciation classes to cultivate young audiences' musical interests. Additionally, during the 1960s and ‘70s, Fott worked as a session musician in Nashville, contributing to over 2,000 recording sessions for renowned artists like Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. 

Fott was honored with the 2022 Gracey Award for his enduring support and dedication to the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, where he served on the Board of Trustees for six years. This award acknowledges his valuable contributions of time, resources and expertise to this community institution. Fott considers himself fortunate to have enriched his life and supported his family through his passion for education and music. 

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Dr. Jim Diehr, a nationally distinguished multimedia artist, previously served as chair of the APSU Department of Art + Design, dean of the College of Arts and Letters and director of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts.

Dr. Jim Diehr is a distinguished artist and educator who works in pottery and sculpture to create spiritual pieces with a whimsical character. With a career in education spanning 44 years, he has left a lasting impact on countless students. Diehr has been a Fulbright Scholar at Nottingham University in England, a guest professor at Lin Fin University in China, head of product design at Pittsburg State University, chair of the APSU Department of Art + Design and later, dean of the APSU College of Arts and Letters, with a stint as director of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts at APSU. 

Diehr is known for his innovative multimedia pieces, crafted from materials such as Colorado alabaster, ceramic and various types of wood sourced from his Cunningham farm, Long Thunder. Notable for his contributions to the arts community, his work has been exhibited nationally and is housed in numerous private and corporate collections. Diehr’s legacy includes founding the ceramics program at Austin Peay and serving as a mentor to generations of aspiring artists. Even in retirement, he continues to create and share his artistic vision with the world. 


Dr. Ellen Kanervo, Austin Peay professor emerita of mass communication, has edited or co-edited six books about Clarksville’s history since her retirement.

Dr. Ellen Kanervo is an Austin Peay professor emerita of mass communication with a distinguished record of teaching, research and service as a faculty member. She has represented APSU in Leadership Clarksville and served on the planning committee for the Tennessee Women in Higher Education annual convention from 1996-97. Since she retired from APSU in 2007, Kanervo has edited or co-edited six books detailing the history of Clarksville. 

Kanervo also has an outstanding community service record and has led the Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council as executive director since 2010. She was named Volunteer of the Year in 2010 by Mayor Johnny Piper. Kanervo has served on many Clarksville nonprofit boards, including the Roxy Regional Theatre and the Urban Ministries. 

Be a live audience member: 
Join us as a live audience member for this special event and be a part of the podcast recording. Experience the engaging conversations firsthand and immerse yourself in the rich history of Austin Peay. Don't forget to bring your own chair for a comfortable and memorable experience! 

The podcast episodes will be available in Fall 2024 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and more. Video versions of each podcast will be available on the Arts & Letters YouTube channel.

For more information, visit apsu.edu/coal or follow us on social media for updates. 

About Govs on the Go: 
Dr. Buzz Hoon, who joined APSU in 2022, introduced the successful alumni podcast concept to the university based on his work at his previous institution. This led to the launch of 'Govs on the Go: Alumni Edition' by the College of Arts and Letters. The podcast celebrates the achievements of alumni, offering insights and inspiration to current students. Additionally, the college also hosts 'Govs on the Go: Faculty Edition,' focusing on the teaching and scholarly accomplishments of its faculty members.