Lester F. Pross was one of the most pioneering members of the Berea College faculty during his time here. Born in Bristol, Connecticut and graduating from Oberlin College, Pross joined the Berea College art department in 1946. He retired after 45 years in 1991, only to return to the College in 2000 to teach painting classes. While at Berea he taught design, painting, drawing, and art history as well as pioneering an interdisciplinary humanities class for Berea College’s general education requirements. In addition to teaching at Berea, he was a Fulbright visiting professor at the University of the Punjab, in Lahore, Pakistan; the American University in Cairo, Egypt; and Kobe University in Nishinomiya, Japan. Pross also was a visiting professor at Union College and humanities consultant for West Virginia Wesleyan University. Lester Pross was a world traveler, and he visited all seven continents, usually with his wife and kids. He served as trustee of Union Church as well as serving on countless boards and councils. This painting is of the American Southwest. In the region, the landscape is flat except for certain features that dominate the landscape. Pross’s flat style captures the stark contrast in the geography. In addition to his work being displayed in the College’s art galleries, his work has been featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art as part of the exhibition More than Land and Sky: Art from Appalachia. His work was also housed the United States’ embassy in Ecuador. As head of the Berea College Art Department from 1971-1984, Lester Pross was key in the acquisition of some of our finest pieces.
-Constantine Botimer, Class of 2019