Honoring King

Cronan, Houston are special speakers for MLK celebrations

Charles A. Houston

Charles A. Houston

Joan Cronan

Joan Cronan

The theme for the 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations in Blount County speaks to honoring the past and securing the future. “To Remember Is Good; To Act Is Greater” is the idea cementing the celebrations planned for the communitiy.

Many community events have been planned to honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All events are free except for the business luncheon. All events are open to the public.

• On Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. there will be a Community Fellowship Service at New Providence Presbyterian Church, 703 W. Broadway Avenue, Maryville. It is a potluck dinner so please bring a side dish to share.

• On Friday, Jan. 18, at noon will be the Business Luncheon held at the Associate Center at Denso Manufacturing, 1720 Robert C. Jackson Drive, Maryville.

Keynote speaker is Joan Cronan, the women’s athletic director for the University of Tennessee. The cost is $25 per person or $250 for a table of 10. Seating is reserved by calling 865-983-2241.

In the past this event has sold out so make your reservations soon.

Under the vision and direction of Women’s Athletics Director Joan Cronan, the University of Tennessee Lady Vols have garnered a reputation as one of the most visible and respected programs throughout the nation. UT’s successes in both the athletic and academic realms speak volumes to her decision-making and leadership ability, as demonstrated by her recent recognition by her peers at the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) with their 2005 Athletic Director of the Year award. In 2004,

Cronan was honored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) with their Southeast Region Athletic Director of the Year award.

Now in her 25th year at Tennessee, Cronan’s continued admiration by her peers and the community is well deserved because of her efforts in facilitating the operation of a first-class program, which captured the Southeastern Conference’s Women’s All-Sport Award from the New York Times for three straight years. She strives not only to keep UT as one of the premier women’s athletics departments in the nation, but also to improve women’s athletics on a local, regional and national level.

Closer to home, Cronan is currently president of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, is active on the boards of First Tennessee Bank and the YMCA, and has served as vice chair of the Leadership Knoxville board. She also works closely with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action, having served as a board member for the local FCA chapter and as a national trustee. In 2003, Cronan was inducted into the FCA Hall of Champions. Additionally, she finds time to be a deacon at Central Baptist Church-Bearden.

On the national scene, she has recently been elected as third vice president of NACDA and is president elect of NACWAA. Cronan has served on the NCAA’s Executive Committee, Management Council, as well as the NCAA’s Council, and is a member of the NCAA Championship Cabinet. She has also been a member of the Southeastern Conference Executive Committee.

A graduate of LSU, Cronan earned her B.S. in 1966 and her M.S. in 1968, both in physical education. She was a fall 1995 inductee into LSU’s Alumni Hall of Distinction. Currently an avid golfer and tennis player, Cronan was ranked as high as second in the South in doubles and is a former state and Southern doubles champion.

Cronan makes her home in Holston Hills. She and her late husband Tom, who passed away on Aug. 18, 2006, after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer, have two daughters, Kristi (Mrs. Rhett Benner) and Stacey (Mrs. Kent Bristow), both 1994 graduates of UT, three grandsons, Chase Thomas and Reed Kent Bristow, and Quinn Leighton Benner, and two granddaughters Reese Lauren Benner and Larkin Ann Bristow.

n On Sunday, Jan. 20, there will be a Community Worship Service at Fairview United Methodist Church, 2508 Old Niles Ferry Road, Maryville. The Rev. Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church is the guest speaker.

n On Monday, Jan. 21, the Celebration Event begins with a parade at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, 209 E. Franklin Street at 1:30 p.m. and ending at Alcoa High School. Assemble for the parade at 1 p.m. and the program begins at 2 p.m., at Alcoa High School.

Keynote speaker is Charles A. Houston, University of Tennessee, Office of Development.

Houston is a native of Alcoa where he participated in the golden years of Hall High School football and basketball. Houston’s athletic successes earned him a spot on the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame. After Hall he played varsity basketball at the University of Cincinnati before his career was sidelined with a major knee injury. Being sidelined in the sports arena jumped started Houston’s business career as he spent several years in management with Sears before his journey as an entrepreneur. His entrepreneurial spirit lead him to a career in business with companies such as Cartel Cellular, Burger King and Papa John’s Pizza.

After these ventures, he helped expand the national distribution of “Glory Foods” and developed retail outlets in Louisville.

Houston went on to finish his bachelor’s degree from Murray State University were he served as a coordinator for multicultural recruitment and retention for the Office of the Provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. Houston has now logged more than half the hours needed for his Masters in Organizational Communication at Murray State University. Houston was recently appointed as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of Tennessee.

Houston’s return to Tennessee has rewarded him with valuable time to spend with family and friends.

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