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VOL. 44 | NO. 4 | Friday, January 24, 2020

Longtime judge will retire in April

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Judge Charles D. Susano Jr., a lifelong Knoxvillian, has announced his retirement after 25 years of service.

He is Tennessee’s longest-serving state appellate judge and will retire effective April 30.

In a letter to Gov. Bill Lee, Susano said “It has been the highest honor of my life to have served the people of the state of Tennessee, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity.”

Gov. Lee stated: “We appreciate Judge Susano’s long tenure and leadership on the Court. He has been admired in the legal community for many years and his service will be missed.”

Born in 1936, Susano attended Knoxville Catholic High School. In 1958, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and served in the U.S. Army until 1960. After being honorably discharged, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee College of Law where he was later admitted to the Order of the Coif and became a member of the Tennessee Law Review.

After graduating from law school in 1963, he served in the inaugural group of law clerks to the Tennessee Supreme Court, working for then Chief Justice Hamilton Burnett.

Licensed as a lawyer in 1964, he practiced law in Knoxville for over 30 years as a partner with Bernstein, Susano and Stair, and later with Susano, Sheppeard, Giordano and Swanson.

In March 1994, Gov. Ned Ray McWherter appointed him to the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Susano was elected statewide in 1994 and reelected in 1998, 2006 and 2014. He served as presiding judge of the court from 2012-2014.

Among his many accolades, Susano was recipient of the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award in 2017; Appellate Judge of the Year from the American Board of Trial Advocates, Tennessee Chapter in 2003; and Courage in the Face of Adversity Award from the Knoxville Bar Association in 2004. Although permanently paralyzed from the chest down as the result of a fall in June 1993, Susano has never let his disability keep him from serving.

Wilhoit, Berry named Dogwood Arts co-chairs

Robin Wilhoit and Mike C. Berry are the co-chairs of the 2020 Dogwood Arts, acting as ambassadors of the organization.

Wilhoit is the weekday anchor on WBIR Channel 10 where she has worked since 1992. She is passionate about issues involving women and children and is a member of several community organizations.

Mike C. Berry is a local artist well-known for his urban compositions that bend and twist cityscapes. He manages the UT Downtown Gallery and is represented by The District Gallery in Knoxville and The River Gallery in Chattanooga.

“W?e feel honored to have Robin Wilhoit and Mike C. Berry as Dogwood Arts Co-chairs for the 2020 season,’’ says Sherry Jenkins, executive director for Dogwood Arts. “Each year, we rely on our co-chairs to be a source of energy, enthusiasm and new perspectives. With Mike’s involvement in the art community as an artist and gallery manager and Robin’s undeniable popularity as one of our area’s most-loved television personalities and community supporters, we are certain that our 2020 Co-chairs will inspire us with energy and enthusiasm,?” ?

“For decades, the Dogwood Arts Festival has been shining a light on the beauty and creativity of Knoxville,’’ Whilhoit says. “I’m incredibly honored to be a part of the celebration of this place we call “home” and welcome all to come and discover what makes Knoxville so special,’’ Berry says.

Previous Dogwood Arts co-chairs include Ashleigh Christian, Clarence L. Vaughn III, Dino Cartwright, Jennifer Holder, Janet Testerman-Crossley, Joan Cronan, Ken Lowe, Bob Thomas, Erin Donovan, Alvin Nance, Eddie Mannis and others.

Merchant & Gould promote McFarland to partner

Ian G. McFarland has been promoted to partner by Merchant & Gould P.C., a national intellectual property law firm in Knoxville that works with innovators.

McFarland focuses on enforcement and litigation encompassing patent, copyright, trademark, false advertising, unfair competition and trade secret matters. He represents clients in several industries and technology fields in federal courts and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

He has served on several trial teams and has extensive experience working with foreign counsel and coordinating global brand enforcement campaigns. McFarland enjoys developing close relationships with his clients, which helps him to identify and obtain solutions that effectively and efficiently further their objectives.

“We are excited to expand our leadership and embrace Merchant & Gould’s growth in 2020,’’ says Christopher J. Leonard, Merchant & Gould’s managing director, CEO and chairman of the board. “This promotion brings greater depth to our practice groups in inventive industries across the country, protecting innovation and technology around the world.’’

State Supreme Court honors law grads for pro bono

The Tennessee Supreme Court has recognized recent University of Tennessee College of Law graduates for their commitment to pro bono service throughout their law school careers.

Through its Pro Bono Recognition Program, the Court identifies and commends law students who perform 50 or more hours of pro bono work through demonstrated commitment to providing legal services to those in need.

The honorees are: Nicholas Allen, Olivia Attanasio, Megan Austin, Lauren Baxter, Mackenzie Bell, Lydia Braun, Jordan Brinkman, Cadee Cody, Anthony Cognasi, Campbell Cox, Erin Crouch, Erica Davis, Christopher Davis, Katelyn Dwyer, Jacob Farmer, Jordan Ferrell, Leah Fitzgerald, Brennan Foy, Joseph Gonzalez, Erin Hall, Elizabeth Harwood, Charlotte Houser, Rachel Jensen, Benjamin Johnson, Kendria Lewis, Elijah Lovingfoss, Jenna Macnair, Michael Matuson, Jasmyn McCalla, Shannador McClain, Phebe McLin, Samuel Millard, Chase Moore, Keaton Murphy, Matthew Musgrove, Addison Rogers, Hollie Russell, Andrew Schrack, Derek Scott, Avery Shell, Tyler Sims, Jackie Tate, Taylor Ward, Deven Wilson, Helen Yorke, Ashley Zepeda and Daniel Zydel.

Since its formation in the mid-1990s, the student-run UT Pro Bono at the College of Law has grown and evolved to meet the needs of the community and student body. During the past few years, UT Pro Bono has experienced incredible growth and currently has 10 active projects with community partners including Legal Aid of East Tennessee and Knox Area Rescue Ministry.

Tindell promoted by iRis Networks Knoxville

iRis Networks has announced its new executive leadership team, including a new regional director for Knoxville.

Billy Tindell has been promoted to senior regional director and enterprise sales for the Knoxville MSA. He takes on the duties of leading the building and launching of enterprise communications services in the area.

He is responsible for all OSP network buildouts and their coordination with the sales effort. He has the knowledge and positive attitude.

The company works to connect people, offices, ideas and the region with the most reliable business communications solutions. Operating a 5,000-mile fiber network, iRis has expanded its digital footprint across Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.

Cronan wins Louisiana Leadership award

University of Tennessee Athletics Director Emeritus Joan Cronan was recently named the 2020 winner of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Enshrined with the 2019 class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Cronan was women’s athletics director at the University of Tennessee from 1983-2012. She then assumed the position of AD and Vice Chancellor before retiring as athletic director emeritus.

On June 27 during the Hall of Fame’s 2020 Induction Dinner and Ceremony in Natchitoches, she will become the 20th recipient of the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005.

A native of Opelousas, Louisiana, Cronan has undergraduate (1966) and graduate (1968) degrees from LSU and also worked for a year at Northwestern State (1967) where she coached volleyball, basketball and tennis. Her first coaching job was at her alma mater, Opelousas High.

Cronan was the inaugural recipient of the NCAA President’s Pat Summitt Award in 2017. The award recognizes an individual for “positively influencing college athletics and their experiences through the individual’s career-long commitment to advocating for women’s sports.”

Cronan has also received the top leadership awards from the National Collegiate Athletic Directors (James Corbett Award), Lead1 (Homer Rice Award), and Women Leaders in College Sports (Lifetime Achievement Award). The Sports Business Journal recognized her as a 2014 Champion: Pioneer and Innovator in Sports Business.

The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award has been presented annually by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 35-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level. Cronan is the Dixon Award’s third woman recipient, preceded in 2017 by college basketball administrator Sue Donohoe and last year by tennis official Marie Gagnard.

The University of Tennessee and the city of Knoxville have honored her by naming the Lady Vol volleyball team’s practice center after her and designating a street as “Joan Cronan Way.”

ETSU honors Bach with arts scholarship

Dr. Bert C. Bach, a recent retiree from East Tennessee State University, will be honored by the institution with a scholarship program in his name.

Bach, who served at the university for more than 25 years, was the school’s top academic official.

The Bert C. Bach Fine and Performing Arts Scholarship Program is offered through the ETSU Honors College. Students chosen for this highly competitive program receive a full academic tuition scholarship for four years.

Bach joined the ETSU administration as provost and vice president for academic affairs in 1994 and also served as interim president from 1991-92. He has worked within the Tennessee higher education system for 43 years.

His service includes work with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Southern Regional Education Board, Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and Tennessee College Association. Bach received the Meritorious Service Award from SACSCOC and has chaired multiple accreditation teams.

The new theater in the Martin Center for the Arts will be named the Bert C. Bach Theatre.

“One of the most profound ways Dr. Bach has influenced this campus is through his unwavering support of the arts,” says Dr. Chris Keller, dean of the ETSU Honors College. “From the beginning, he has been a great champion for the Honors College and this scholarship program, and we are proud to have this opportunity to recognize his legacy and the many ways he has invested in our future artists.”

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