Skip to main content

Students, together with an award-winning chef, will create a unique gourmet dinner as part of the thirteenth annual Appalachian Spring fundraiser on Saturday, March 28.

The event, Celebrating the Spirit of Tennessee, will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 401 W. Summit Hill Drive in downtown Knoxville.

The fundraiser helps support the dreams of retail, hospitality, and tourism management students and provides them with an enriched education experience.

It is open to the public. Tickets are on sale and are $150 for the general public. Attire will be blazers and blue jeans. For information and to reserve tickets, e-mail or call 865-974-2141.

The evening will include a silent auction, wine-and-beer reception, hors d’oeuvres, and a four-course dinner with wine pairings. Students will prepare the meal from start to finish with the help of guest chef Robert Allen. He is executive chef of Citico’s Restaurant and Club at the WindRiver Lakefront and Golf Community on Tellico Lake in Lenoir City.

Students also will honor Susan Whitaker, Tennessee commissioner of tourist development, with the UT Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management’s first “Innovator in the Industry” award.

“Ms. Whitaker has paved the way for memorable marketing initiatives to bring Tennessee into the spotlight as one of the top destination places to visit,” said Ann Fairhurst, head of the UT Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management.

Last year, the fundraiser generated more than $24,000 for students’ enriched educational programs and cultural experiences.

To learn more about the event, visit the website  or the Facebook page.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,