News

August 29, 2008

THINK PINK LUNCHEON BENEFITS BREAST CANCER PATIENTS

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – The fourth annual Think Pink Luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, October 29, at noon in Vest Hall on the Columbia Academy campus. According to Women’s Services Coordinator Dana Salters, the keynote speaker for the luncheon is Joan Cronan, women’s athletic director at the University of Tennessee.

Under the vision and direction of 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.

Cronan joined UT from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where she served as the athletics director for 10 years and was later inducted into that institution’s hall of fame. Under Cronan, the school was selected as the No. 1 women's athletics program in the country in 1980 by the American Women's Sports Foundation. 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.

In 1998, Cronan’s work earned her accord from the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame, as she was named its Administrator of the Year. Other honors include chairing the 1991 Knoxville area United Way Fund Drive, serving as president of the Executive Women’s Association, receiving the 1994 Toastmaster's International Communication and Leadership Award and earning the 1994 AOPi Citizen of the Year Award. In March of 1987, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association honored her hard work, dedication and success by presenting her with its leadership award. She also won the 1995 regional award for the National Association of Collegiate Women's Athletic Administrators.

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.

As a former coach, Cronan served a two-year stint at Tennessee from 1968 to 1970. In 1969, she led the women's basketball team to an alternate berth in the first-ever National Invitational Collegiate Basketball Tournament. While at Charleston, she continued her success, not only as a basketball coach but in tennis as well. In 1981, she gave up coaching to devote her full-time attention to her duties as teacher and athletics director.

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.

“We are honored to have such a distinguished and successful leader as our keynote speaker,” said Salters. “Attendees will also hear from Portia Glenn, a local gospel singer who has fought her own battle with cancer. Both women are an inspiration to others. We hope that the community will come and join us for this exciting event that will benefit local breast cancer patients.”

Dr. Susan Gray will serve as the master of ceremonies and Eddie Ables will conduct an auction for an item donated by Helm’s. Music is courtesy of Rick Mullen. Tickets for the fundraising event are $30 and include a catered lunch. Tables for 10 are available. All proceeds will fund mammograms for women in the community unable to afford this service. Seating is limited. Tickets may be purchased at The Women’s Center at Maury Regional Hospital. For more information, call 540.4166.

Sponsors for the luncheon are All Occasion Flowers & Gifts, Columbia Academy, DJ’s Rental, Doris’ Flowers & Gifts, Douglas White Florist, Family Bakery & Catering, Helm’s, Lively Florist, Maury Regional Hospital, and Sullivan’s Florist.

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