KINGSPORT — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will continue making strides in academics, athletics and research, retiring Women’s Athletic Director Joan Cronan told the Kiwanis Club of Kingsport Friday.
Taking over a speaking engagement originally planned to feature UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, who was called away by Gov. Bill Haslam for budget discussions, Cronan, to become women’s athletic director emeritus after June 30, 2014, spoke about the school and then held a question-and-answer session.
With Chancellor Cheek overseeing the Knoxville campus and colleagues doing the same across the UT system, Cronan said UT President Joseph DiPietro is overseeing the whole system with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Tullahoma, as well as other programs including online offerings and involvement in the Kingsport Center for Higher Education downtown.
“What I see is what I call separation of church and state,” Cronan told the club, emphasizing Cheek’s and Haslam’s mission to make UT one of the top 25 research institutions nationwide.
“Finally (UT) Knoxville discovered that Oak Ridge (National Labs) was just down the street,” Cronan said, citing the joint Cherokee Farms across from the UT hospital that will become a research center operated by UT and ORNL officials.
“That is teamwork. That makes me really, really excited about what the future could be,” Cronan said.
Turning to athletics, the one-time overall interim athletic director for UT Knoxville said UT’s women’s programs thrive because “we supported woman athletes before it was cool” and because of the work and leadership of people like former UT women’s basketball coach Pat Head Summitt and current coach Holly Warlick.
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