December 2017 Around Town

City Elects Five New Council Members

On November 7, the city elected five new members to the city council: Stephanie Welch, 1st District; Andrew Roberto, 2nd District; Seema Singh-Perez, 3rd District; Lauren Rider, 4th District; and Gwen McKenzie, 6th District. They will be sworn into office at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 16, in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building.

Mayor Madeline Rogero praised voters for their year-long engagement with the candidates and issues.

The five sitting council members are term-limited and could not seek a third four-year term. So the newly elected incoming members will comprise a majority of the next council.


“Congratulations to the new incoming council members,” Rogero said. “We’ve enjoyed great community dialogue throughout the campaign season. The 11,735 votes cast represent one of the biggest voter turnouts in the past quarter-century. There was a significant increase in voter engagement.”


The city’s Go Vote! Knoxville initiative was created last summer to encourage more people to get to know the candidates and then to vote. Family-friendly Go Vote! Knoxville meet-the-candidate events were held in all six council districts, and the city created a website to make it easier for citizens to get election information, connect with the candidates and compare where the candidates stood on issues.


Turnout in November’s election was up by 47 percent from the 2009 general election, the last time these same races were on the ballot, and there were no incumbents running.

UT Dedicates Veterans 
Resource Center

The University of Tennessee dedicated its new Veterans Resource Center on the ground floor of Hodges Library on November 17. After the dedication, everyone was invited to tour the center.

The center, which opened this summer across from One Stop Student Services, provides student veterans with a place to study, socialize and meet with coordinators who can help them connect to the services they need.

During the ceremony, a video message was played from country music icon Charlie Daniels, whose Journey Home Project donated $10,000 to outfit the Veterans Resource Center with technology to be used by student veterans.

Smokey X was in the center to greet guests, and a mural painted by artist and UT alumna Payton Marie Miller—known for her paintings on the Rock—was unveiled.

About 975 veterans, military spouses and dependents attended UT this fall using VA benefits.

Although the Veterans Resource Center and its staff are funded by UT, the center’s programming and scholarships are supported by a variety of sources, including the Journey Home Foundation. Donations can be made to the Veterans Resource Center Fund, which is administered by UT’s office of Development and Alumni Affairs.

Culinary and Catering Program Earns Quality Program Status from ACFEF

The University of Tennessee’s Culinary and Catering program has again been recognized by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) as a quality program.

The noncredit certificate program, offered through UT Conferences and Non-Credit Programs, is a 12-week intensive series of classes designed to teach students about the foundations of culinary arts.

“Our recognition as a quality program is one of my proudest moments in three and a half decades in the culinary profession,” executive chef and program director Greg J. Eisele said. “Our program graduates will receive 300 continuing education hours from the American Culinary Federation to help them advance to the next level and become an ACF-certified chef.”

ACFEF Quality Program status recognizes culinary- and hospitality-related programs that meet or exceed industry standards for education and training.

Quality programs are defined and designed for educational schools, organizations, or institutions offering courses or programs in areas including, but not limited to culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, hospitality management, food service management, food photography, and food styling.

Eighty-six nontraditional students have completed the UT program since its launch in 2013 and are now working in various venues including conference centers, convention centers, private and commercial restaurants, and their own businesses. Four program graduates have even advanced to earn their chef’s certification through the American Culinary Federation, Eisele said.

Established in 1929 and with more than 17,500 members spanning more than 150 chapters nationwide, ACF is the largest professional organization of chefs and cooks in the United States. It is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States.

Caribbean Medical School to Temporarily Relocate to Knoxville 

More than 1,400 students, faculty and staff from Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) plan to relocate temporarily to Knoxville to continue their program of study after Hurricane Maria damaged the medical school’s home country of Dominica in September. Currently, students are completing their fall semester medical sciences curriculum on a cruise ship ported off the island of St. Kitts and plan to begin their winter semester at the new facilities. 

RUSM plans to relocate to facilities owned by Lincoln Memorial University (LMU). LMU, based in Harrogate and with operations in Knoxville, will provide the necessary operational capacity and the technical capabilities to support RUSM faculty, students and staff. 

“While the island of Dominica continues to rebuild, we are pleased to have forged this arrangement with an outstanding university like LMU,” William F. Owen, MD, dean and chancellor of RUSM said. “The continuity of our students’ education and their academic programming is our highest priority, and we are pleased to work with LMU to make these extraordinary facilities available.” 

RUSM plans to continue to use its own medical sciences curriculum and faculty while making use of the LMU teaching and office facilities, including an anatomy lab. Efforts are underway by RUSM and Adtalem Global Education to acquire all necessary regulatory approvals and finalize other details.