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Weekend edition August 18, 2023 | Shannon Smith

News Roundup | Professor Peyton

UTHSC College of Medicine names new dean

Robert M. Craft, MD, a native of East Tennessee and an alumnus of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has been named Dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine in Knoxville.

Dean Craft has served since October 2022 as the Interim Dean of the College of Medicine in Knoxville and the Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for the University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC), one of UTHSC’s key partner teaching hospitals. Dean Craft completed his residency at UTMC in 1993 and joined the faculty of the College of Medicine in Knoxville in 1994 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology.

“I’m very committed to this campus, UTHSC, and the UT System as a whole,” Dean Craft said. “I’ve been a faculty member at the University of Tennessee Medical Center for 29 years and I spent a year in medical school, as well as four years of residency here, so that adds up to more than half my life.”

Peyton Manning joins UTK faculty

Communication students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) can now share a classroom with one of the greatest football players to call Rocky Top home.

UTK’s College of Communication and Information (CCI) has appointed Peyton Manning as a Professor of Practice starting in the fall 2023 term. Manning will partner with CCI faculty and teach a variety of topics that align with the college’s curriculum including sports reporting, video production and performance, leadership and communication, and public speaking.

Manning graduated from UT with a degree in speech communication after leading the Vols to an SEC football championship. He went on to a storied NFL career, launched the entertainment company Omaha Productions, and has remained steadfast in his dedication to the Volunteer community.

“My time as a student in the College of Communication and Information was a foundational experience during which I learned critical skills and messaging techniques that I continue to put to use almost daily,” Manning said. “I look forward to working with the college’s talented faculty, and directly with students  in an effort to ensure they are well prepared for their future careers.”

UTK reopens creamery after nearly 40 years

The UT Creamery, a partnership between the Herbert College of Agriculture and UTK College of Education, Health & Human Sciences, is officially open!

A new storefront ice cream shop and boutique in the UT Culinary Institute and Creamery, formerly the site of the UT Visitors Center, is ready and welcomes guests at 2712 Neyland Drive.

UT Creamery’s primary purpose is to provide related experiences to their fields of study while offering premium ice cream and a wide-ranging choice of UT Creamery and Rocky Top-themed merchandise. A variety of roles are offered to students including modern ice cream production methods, manufacturing, logistics, product development, retail business management and analytics, marketing, merchandising, event planning, customer service, and direct-to-customer sales.

The five flavors offered are VOLnilla Bean, Torchbearer’s Chocolate, Smokey’s Strawberry Kisses, Mint Champion Chip, and the shop’s signature flavor, Go Big Orange. Come and enjoy a delicious “scoop of tradition” made and sold by University of Tennessee, Knoxville students Monday through Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.

Help the Knoxville workforce by taking the technology skills gap survey

Knowing what technology skills are needed in the workforce is imperative to transitioning Knoxville’s economy. Industries cannot prepare a future workforce with the right skills without first hearing from local employers about what is needed.

That’s why the Knoxville Chamber and the Knoxville Technology Council have partnered to create a survey identifying the area’s technology skills gap.

Click here to take the 5-minute survey to provide them with your feedback. The results will be shared with all local education institutions and workforce development agencies as a resource for them to evaluate their current program offerings.

Register now for the Endeavor Young Professionals Summit

Knoxville’s annual Endeavor Young Professional (YP) Summit motivates the area’s emerging leaders to engage in their community and take ownership of their professional growth.

This year’s compelling keynote speaker is University of Tennessee Head Baseball Coach Tony Vitello. Dynamic discussions empower attendees to grow personally and professionally and invest in regional economic prosperity.

The day-long summit will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on October 19, 2023, at Bridgewater Place. It’ll be a full day of programming tailored around the topics that the YP community designated as most relevant for their careers and their life in Knoxville. You can purchase tickets here.

YWCA Knoxville announces Tribute to Women 2023 finalists

YWCA Knoxville is again honoring local women leaders by announcing the finalists for its 2023 Tribute to Women awards, which recognize the contributions and community impact of women all across East Tennessee, particularly women who exemplify the organization’s mission: “empowering women, eliminating racism and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.”

The event celebrates the achievements of finalists in seven categories. The honorees are selected by judges who live outside the Knoxville area. The finalists will be honored and winners announced at the 38th Tribute to Women Awards at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The finalists include:

Arts and Culture

  • Hannah Houser, President, HH Creative LLC.
  • Courtney Bergmeier, Executive Director, Bijou Theatre.
  • Shanna Browning, Community Outreach Manager, First Century Bank and Dogwood Arts.

Business and Industry

  • Eugenia Almeida, Founder, A New Hue.
  • Jan Brown, Vice President of Culture, Inclusion and Performance, Tennessee Valley Authority.
  • Lauren Miller, Partner and CEO, MoxCar Marketing + Communications.

Community Enhancement

  • Dr. Kathryn Ellis, Executive Director, Knoxville Family Justice Center.
  • Enkeshi El-Amin, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Agnes Scott College; Founder, The Bottom; Creator and Co-host, Black in Appalachia podcast.
  • Chloe Akers, President and Founder, The Liminal Plan.


  • Christi Kirk, Family and Community Engagement Manager, Project GRAD.
  • Jamea Beach, Education Impact Manager, United Way of Greater Knoxville.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Foster, Director, Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Emerging Leader

  • Shante Southwood, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Analyst, Knoxville Utilities Board.
  • Allison Comer, Executive Director, Muse Knoxville.
  • Angela Bartlett, Senior Manager of Community Engagement and Capacity Building, Knoxville-Knox County CAC Office on Aging.

Racial and Social Justice

  • Denise Dean, Founder and Executive Director, East Tennessee Freedom Schools.
  • Femeika Elliott, Owner and Founder, Meik Meals & Rooted East Knoxville.
  • Kim Lauth, Chief Operating Officer, Positively Living & Choice Health Network.

Science, Technology and Health

  • Dr. Mandy Halford, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Medical Informatics Officer for Covenant Health.
  • Jennifer Niedziela, Senior Research and Research Group Leader, National Security Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • Abby Henson Enns, Strategic Consultant in Regional Relations, Tennessee Valley Authority.

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