OSU taps art scholar, forest engineer as distinguished profs


CORVALLIS - Art scholar Henry Sayre and forest engineer John Sessions have been named "Distinguished Professors" by Oregon State University - the highest individual honor the university can bestow upon its faculty.

Recipients of the awards carry the title of "distinguished professor" as long as they remain at the university, said Roy Arnold, OSU provost and executive vice president.

A reception will be held for the recipients on May 12 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in OSU's Memorial Union Room 109. It is free and open to the public.

A professor in the Department of Art, Sayre recently completed work on a 10-part television documentary series on contemporary visual artists that was aired nationally on PBS. Called "A World of Art," the series was an outgrowth of a path-breaking textbook by the same name that he wrote in 1994. The book revolutionized the field of art appreciation textbooks by emphasizing the creative process and including far more examples of art produced by women and people of different cultures than traditional art books.

A second edition of the book, and the subsequent PBS series, were fueled by a $1.2 million Annenberg grant to Sayre. It is the largest single grant ever received in the OSU College of Liberal Arts. Sayre's "A World of Art" book is the most widely adopted art appreciation textbook in the United States. It is used at more than 130 colleges and universities.

A new book by Sayre, "Narrative, Performance and the Ends of Art," will be published by the University of Chicago Press later this year. It examines the possibilities of art in the new millennium.

A past recipient of the Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award for Outstanding Teaching at OSU, Sayre is recognized as one of the university's best educators and a pioneer in distance learning. Sayre has been on the OSU faculty since 1984.

Sessions, a professor in the Department of Forest Engineering, has helped bring the computer age to the world of chain saws and log trucks. He has created many computer software programs and computer models that help get the most out of a limited forest resource, by optimal harvesting and transportation, improved forest management systems and greater environmental sensitivity.

In some cases, his innovations have helped put computers literally into the hands of loggers in the field to help maximize the value of the timber.

Sessions also has helped provide the real-world analysis that can take ecosystem management from a theory to functional reality. His expertise has been highly sought in several major forest planning initiatives in the Pacific Northwest and helped meet the competing demands on forests for timber, wildlife, recreation, habitat protection and other goals.

A highly respected educator, Sessions won the Aufderheide Award four times as the outstanding teacher in the College of Forestry. He also has published nearly 60 professional papers, written or edited all or parts of 19 books, written more than 90 other articles and developed 16 software programs.

Sessions has been on the OSU faculty since 1983.