Joan Cronan, longtime UT women’s athletics director, will deliver CCI’s 2016 commencement address on Thursday May 12 at 11:30 a.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Cronan’s remarkable career at the University of Tennessee includes 29 years of service as UT’s women’s athletics director (1983-2012) and three months as UT’s interim vice chancellor/director of athletics (June 2011-September 2011) to oversee the merger of UT’s men’s and women’s athletics departments. After completion of the merger, Cronan was named women’s athletics director emeritus and consultant and advisor to UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.
Thanks in large part to Cronan’s vision, direction and leadership, the Tennessee Lady Vols were remarkably successful both athletically and academically. During her tenure, the Lady Vols placed first or second in The New York Times Southeastern Conference’s Women’s All-Sport Award six times including three first-place finishes. The UT women’s athletics department also achieved a seventh place finish in the 2007 Director’s Cup – Tennessee’s highest finish ever. Cronan’s diligence helped UT become one of the nation’s premier women’s athletics departments and led to significant progress in the standing of women’s athletics on a local, regional and national level.
Cronan’s remarkable career also led to her appointment to top leadership positions in national organizations including: appointment to the 2010 NCAA Division 1 Leadership Council, president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), and president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA).
Both organizations also honored Cronan with NACWAA naming her as its Athletic Director of the Year (2005) and NACDA naming her as its Southeast Region Athletic Director of the Year (2004). In 2009, Cronan was presented with the Women of Achievement Award: “Women Who Make a Difference” by the International Women’s Forum, and the U.S. Sports Academy named her to its board of trustees in February of 2014.
Prior to joining UT in 1983, Cronan served as athletics director at the College of Charleston (1973-83). The school was selected as the nation’s No. 1 women’s athletics program in 1980 by the American Women’s Sports Foundation.
Cronan’s community service activities over the years include serving as: president of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame; chair and vice chair of Leadership Knoxville; chair of the Knoxville area United Way Fund Drive; president of the Executive Women’s Association; and a member of a number of boards including First Tennessee Bank, the Pat Summitt Foundation, the YMCA, a trustee of Carson-Newman University, and a national trustee of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Honors received include: Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame Administrator of the Year (1998), YWCA of Knoxville’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2013) and its Top 30 Women in the Past 30 Years Award (2014), Toastmaster’s International Communication and Leadership Award (1994), AOPi Citizen of the Year Award (1994), and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Leadership Award (1987).
Cronan holds B.S. (1966) and M.S. (1968) degrees in physical education from Louisiana State University (LSU) and was inducted into LSU’s Alumni Hall of Distinction in 1995.
Nearly 250 CCI undergraduates and 60 CCI graduate students will be invited to participate in the commencement program, which includes students who are completing their degrees in spring or summer 2016. The ceremony will be webcast live and also archived for later viewing.