Founders Day Luncheon on October 3, 2017

Founders Day Luncheon to Celebrate the City of Knoxville’s 226th Birthday with Featured Speaker, Joan Cronan

The Historic Homes of Knoxville are pleased to invite the public to a luncheon on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at 11:30 AM at The Foundry to celebrate the founding of the City of Knoxville 226 years ago. Joan Cronan, Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Dr. Bruce Wheeler, University of Tennessee Department of History Professor Emeritus, will discuss “Women Who Made a Difference”. Knoxville’s key leaders will come together to celebrate and promote the city and its most precious properties, including Blount Mansion, Crescent Bend House & Gardens, Historic Ramsey House, James White’s Fort, Mabry-Hazen House, Marble Springs State Historic Site, and Historic Westwood. Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the joint promotional activities of the Historic Homes. Purchase tickets through or by calling 865-523-7543 by September 28.

Triumphant collegiate programs are able to distinguish themselves from their counterparts because of superiority on the field of competition and within the classroom.  The integrity and proactive guidance of the person at the helm is what provided the edge to the University of Tennessee women’s athletics department for 29 seasons, from 1983-84 to 2011-12.  So it came as no surprise that UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek named Joan Cronan as the Interim Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics in June of 2011 when the university sought a leader for its merging men’s and women’s athletics departments. It was a position she held until Dave Hart was hired as Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics on Sept. 5, 2011. After the merger was complete following the 2011-12 academic year, she was named Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus, Consultant and Advisor to Chancellor Cheek.

Under the vision and direction of Cronan, a heavily-requested speaker on leadership and motivation on the national and local levels, the University of Tennessee Lady Vols garnered a reputation as one of the most visible and respected programs throughout the nation.

UT’s success in both the athletic and academic realms speak volumes to her decision-making and leadership ability, as demonstrated by appointment to the 2010 NCAA Division 1 Leadership Council and selection of her peers as the president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 2008-09.  Cronan is also a former president of National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA).

Cronan is a past president of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, is active on the boards of First Tennessee Bank, the Pat Summitt Foundation and the YMCA, and she 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.

Recently, Cronan was named to the Carson-Newman University Board of Trustees, the Advisory Board for UT Business School’s Department of Management, as a Strategic Partner with Premium Growth Solutions and Varsityville.  In 2003, Cronan was inducted into the FCA Hall of Champions. Additionally, she finds time to be a deacon at Central Baptist Church-Bearden.

Professor William Bruce Wheeler came to the University of Tennessee in 1970, having held professional positions at three other schools. In 1980 and 1986, he was chosen by the University’s National Alumni Association as an outstanding teacher, and he has twice been awarded the L.R. Hesler Award for service to students. From 1987 to 1994, he was the director of the University Honors Program. In 2002, he received the National Alumni Association Award for Public Service.

Professor Wheeler’s principal responsibilities in the department’s graduate program are graduate courses, seminars, theses, and doctoral dissertations in United States Early National History.

The Historic Homes of Knoxville are uniformly significant in Tennessee’s accession as the 16th state in 1796. Apart from the paramount importance of their preservation, each house museum offers regular tours, events, and educational opportunities that benefit the community at large. For more information on the Historic Homes of Knoxville, visit

Built in 1786, James White’s Fort was home to the founder of Knoxville. More than 10,000 visitors tour the Fort each year to experience the frontier lifestyle through hands-on interpretation of Open Hearth Cooking, Blacksmithing and Spinning.

Marble Springs was the home of John Sevier (1745-1815), Tennessee’s first governor and Revolutionary War hero. The site is a destination for over 2,000 school children and hosts a variety of hands-on workshops and Living History events that give visitors a glimpse into late 18th- and early 19th-century life.

Construction on Blount Mansion began in 1792, making it the oldest museum in Knox County. As the birthplace of the state of Tennessee, the site offers educational visits for grades K-5, and all lesson plans follow the Tennessee State Curriculum. Blount Mansion also hosts field trips for homeschool groups.

Historic Ramsey House was built in 1797 by Knoxville’s first builder, Thomas Hope, for Francis Alexander Ramsey, one of Knoxville’s first settlers. Ramsey House’s educational programs incorporate social studies, science, and math, and adhere to state education standards. The programs allow visitors to see and experience how people lived in the 1800’s.

Historic Crescent Bend House & Gardens is one of the Southeast’s finest house museums and gardens. Built in 1834 by Drury Paine Armstrong, Crescent Bend was once a 900-acre working farm and so named for its prominent setting overlooking a majestic crescent bend in the Tennessee River just west of downtown Knoxville. Offering museum and garden tours, Crescent Bend also serves as a popular venue for special events.

Built in 1858 and housing three generations of the same family from 1858-1987, the Mabry-Hazen House was occupied by both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. Mabry-Hazen offers private tours to individuals and schools, and contains the original family collection of over 5,000 family heirlooms. In addition, the museum oversees the Bethel Cemetery, the resting place for more than 1,600 Confederate Soldiers. The cemetery also contains a small museum built in the caretaker’s cottage dating from 1886. 

Historic Westwood was built as a “wedding promise” in 1890 by John E. Lutz and his wife, Adelia Armstrong Lutz and it remained in the family for 123 years. The Lutzes’ home, designed by the notable Baumann Brothers architects, is constructed of brick and stone in the grand style of the late 19th century and contains the stunning artist studio built for Adelia, Tennessee’s first professional female painter. The home opened as Knox Heritage’s Regional Center for Historic Preservation in the spring of 2014.

Each of these historic homes is a chapter of history unto itself. Together they exemplify and celebrate the continuing pioneering spirit that created Knoxville 226 years ago.

The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM at The Foundry, 747 World’s Fair Park Drive in downtown Knoxville. Guests may enjoy a meet & greet with Joan Cronan at 11:30 AM, with the program and luncheon beginning at 12:00 PM. WBIR’s Robin Wilhoit will perform the duties of Master of Ceremonies and Dr. Bruce Wheeler, University of Tennessee Department of History Professor Emeritus, will give additional remarks.  Advance single tickets are $50; a table of ten is $500. Purchase tickets through or by calling 865-523-7543. Advance reservations are requested by September 28.

Secured By miniOrange