A rockstar and celebrity on campus, Dr. Dula was honored on Friday with a film screening about his life.
ETSU professor Chris Dula has been fighting a brain tumor for almost two years. To show support, family, friends, faculty and students gathered in Ball Hall Auditorium to view a film titled “The Way of Dula.” The movie centers around Dula’s life and his optimism as he overcame hardships throughout the years.
“My goal was to show the world how wonderful of a person Dr. Dula is,” ETSU alumni and film director Devin Ricker said. “He inspired me in so many different ways through his teachings, his concerts and just his mentorship with me. … He has such a beautiful story. I knew that the world needed to see this story.”
Ricker said that Dula inspired him to be a learner and to have fun with learning. He also taught Ricker another life lesson as well.
“To live life to the fullest,” Ricker said. “There were several times where he’d be out on vacation and he’d be going to like WrestleMania or something, and he wouldn’t get back until four in the morning. He wouldn’t sleep, and he’d come in the next morning to teach class, and then he would go sky diving. He would do all those sort of things and I’d be like ‘Man, I want to be like that guy someday.'”
Ricker said that it took him nine months and hundreds of hours to make the movie about Dula’s life.
“I did unfortunately lose half of the B-roll footage a couple of months into editing,” Ricker said. “When I lost that half it was so devastating to me, and I almost gave up on it.”
Ricker then saw an update video about Dula’s health on Facebook.
“I remembered why I did [the movie] in the first place,” Ricker said. “It wasn’t for myself, and it wasn’t because I knew it was going to be difficult. It was for him and his family. That gave me the inspiration to keep moving forward.”
Audience members enjoyed the uplifting story about Dula’s life.
“I thought that a lot of heart and effort was put into it,” ETSU alumni Ben Wagner said. “Obviously Dr. Dula has touched so many peoples lives. It’s really a legacy thing.”
Along with the movie, ETSU President Brian Noland presented Dula with a proclamation. Noland went on to state that each year the university will celebrate faculty and staff.
“Each April we will celebrate Dr. Chris Dula Day of Service at ETSU commemorating in perpetuity, your service to the university,” Noland said. “Now it’s not the proclamation that’s important. It’s what the proclamation signifies. It signifies that each day in April from this point forward in perpetuity, we as a university will come together for a day in the spring to celebrate service. Dr. Dula, thank you for all that you do at ETSU.”