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KNOXVILLE — Carol Costello, professor in the retail, hospitality and tourism management department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been named the 2010 Tennessee Hospitality Educator of the Year.

The award was presented to Costello earlier this month at the annual industry conference of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, held in Murfreesboro. The Association is the statewide industry organization representing industry professionals from the Tennessee Restaurant Association and the Tennessee Hotel and Lodging Association. Costello was nominated by her peers at UT and supported by industry professionals in the Knoxville area.

The award was presented by Susan Whitaker, commissioner of the state Department of Tourist Development. Whitaker noted Costello’s outstanding contribution to hospitality education throughout her 23-year career at UT, including classroom teaching, community service, academic research and mentoring practices.

Costello recently was named director of the UT Culinary Institute’s Wine and Beer Education Program, which offers popular public wine and beer education and industry training courses.

“We’re delighted to see Carol honored by the state. Her contributions to the Culinary Institute have been tremendous,” said John Antun, founding director of the Culinary Institute and recipient of the 2009 Tennessee Hospitality Educator of the Year award.

The Culinary Institute is a 10-month intensive certificate program offered by the Department of Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management of UT’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Costello said the award is wonderful, but the real reward has been the work itself.

“I have been associated with fantastic students and colleagues over the years and hope to continue to contribute to student’s lives,” she said.

In 2009 Costello was awarded one of the highest honors in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences when she was recognized by her peers with the Jackie De Jonge Award, given to college faculty having superlative research, teaching and service.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Carol Costello (865-974-6249 or