UT Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus Joan Cronan to keynote 2018 Equali-Tea

Former longtime Tennessee women’s athletic director Joan Cronan will share her wisdom as the keynote speaker of the 2018 Equali-Tea, announced Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle, chairwoman of the Middle Tennessee Fund for Women and Girls.

Cronan served for 29 years as Women’s Athletics Director at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She will speak about UT’s successes in both the athletic and academic realms.

"Joan Cronan is the perfect speaker for this year’s Equali-Tea," Hoffschwelle said. "Our theme is Title IX, which has advanced opportunities for women and girls in sports and academics, just as Joan Cronan has done throughout her remarkable career."Set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, Equali-Tea will be held in the MTSU Miller Education Center, 503 E Bell St, in Murfreesboro.The event will be catered by The Curious Kitchen, which is owned and operated by Rachel and Helena Spensatelli. The Curious Kitchen will serve a tasty high tea of savory and sweet items, featuring locally-sourced and organic foods, and provide continuous tea service at each table.

Reservations are required and offered at no cost. Attendees will be invited to make a contribution to the Fund at the event. All donations are fully tax-deductible.

For more information about the 2018 Equali-TEA, visit Equali-TEA.org or send us an email at contact@equali-tea.org.

Cronan, who was the first recipient of the NCAA President’s Pat Summitt Award in 2017, led the Volunteers’ women’s athletic programs.

"She has led with humility and grace and demands excellence from everybody that works with her," Former University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said in 2008 when she was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. "She’s built a powerhouse of a program that also graduates and educates young ladies."

During her tenure, Tennessee expanded women’s varsity sports from seven to 11, and annual giving to support women’s athletics increased to $2 million per year.

Cronan prioritized academics with student-athletes, leading an initiative that stressed class attendance and engagement.

As a result, female student-athletes earned an average 93 percent Graduation Success Rate during her tenure. Cronan also started a community service component that emphasized civic responsibility as part of an athletics experience at the university.

She is now the women’s athletics director emeritus at Tennessee.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.

In addition to Cronan’s address, Equali-Tea attendees will also hear from the 2018 Tempest Award winner.

Chaired this year by Madelyn Scales Harris and Diane Turnham, the second annual Equali-Tea is a social, fundraiser, and educational program all in one.

This event raises scholarship and programming funds for the Middle Tennessee Fund for Women and Girls, a nonprofit organization in support of the mission of AAUW Murfreesboro. The goal of the nonprofit is to level the playing field for women and girls in education and in the workforce.

The (hats optional) High Tea also marks Equal Pay Day, the day that symbolizes how long women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

In addition to marking Equal Pay Day, the high tea event will help raise funds for two AAUW Murfreesboro scholarships that are offered to MTSU students.

The Ruth Houston Memorial Scholarship supports women 24 years and older who are returning to finish their undergraduate degree. Applicants must demonstrate academic promise and financial need.

In 2015, the group marked its 100th anniversary by creating a second scholarship, named for long-time AAUW members Mattie Butler and Leola Fouts.

The Butler-Fouts Graduate Scholarship is presented to female graduate students from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups. Applicants must demonstrate academic promise and financial need as well as be enrolled in a graduate program at MTSU.

Each scholarship will provide $2,000 for the school year 2018-19.

The 2018 Equali-Tea is sponsored by First Tennessee, MTSU, Farrar | Wright, Dr. Liz Rhea, Dr. Susan Andrews of Family Practice Partners and Friends of AAUW.

About AAUW Murfreesboro

Organized in 1913, AAUW Murfreesboro (murfreesboro-tn.aauw.net) is a membership organization of college-educated individuals from all walks of life who share a common purpose–to level the playing field for women and girls in education and in the workplace.

Our branch does this through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. We are part of a national and state network that supports our work right here in Murfreesboro. Our national organization (200,000 members strong) is a powerful voice on women’s issues in Washington, D.C. Our Tennessee organization unifies our presence throughout the state, bringing together all seven branches in Memphis, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Martin, Knoxville, Maryville, and Oak Ridge.

Middle Tennessee Fund for Women and Girls

The Middle Tennessee Fund for Women and Girls (www.mtfwg.org), a 501(c)3 organization, is the charitable arm of the Murfreesboro, TN Branch of AAUW.

Your contributions to the fund support graduate and undergraduate scholarships for women students at Middle Tennessee State University as well as educational programs open to the Murfreesboro community.

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