Tremont party raises $325,000 for new “living” campus

Dr. Marianne and Brian Wanamaker at the cocktail hour of the Tremont celebration.

Talk about a successful event! Between sponsorships, ticket sales and a live auction, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont raised $325,000 on a beautiful Saturday night at Marblegate Farm in Friendsville.

The evening was designed to launch Tremont’s “Keystone Campaign,” which will raise $27 million to create the first phase of a new “living” campus. This new educational facility will be located on 194 acres bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It will be Tennessee’s first “Living Building Challenge” project.

According to Tremont’s president and CEO, Catey McClary, this facility will meet key goals to promote the responsible use of water, materials and resources. It will feature clean energy technologies, generating more energy than it uses; treating water on site and putting clean water back into the watershed; and restoring critical habitat.

Tremont’s mission is to connect people and nature and to deliver “experiential learning” for youth, educators, and adults through programs that promote self-discovery, critical thinking, and effective teaching and leadership.

Pretty ambitious, huh? But exciting.

And, so was the party. The best part? The dinner portion was presented in a huge air-conditioned tent, a great relief on a sweltering evening in East Tennessee.

Cocktails and mingling opened the evening. Ask any auctioneer: It’s always good to offer cocktails before a live auction!

Tasneem and Mike Knoebel.

Nikki and Eric Elliott.

From left, Taylor and Simonne Wortham with Dorothy and Caesar Stair, III.

Sandy and the Hon. Gary Wade, retired chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Get a load of this awesome appetizer spread! Food was by Kevin Filicky of Takeout Thyme.

Elizabeth Estill, left, and Joan Cronan.

Bill and Donna Cobble own Marblegate Farm and have done a fantastic job operating it as a unique event venue.

Sandy and David Martin.

From left, Stacy Miller, Suzy and Bob Booker, and Patrick Miller.

Malcolm and Beth Foster with Bill Muse, right.

Carol Evans with Jason Seickel, left, and David Tuch.

From left, Bob and Brenda Madigan with Alan Carmichael and Bob Page. (Everyone was given a goody bag when they entered.)

From left, Joe McCamish, Tom and Mille Sudman, Cheryl Masur, and Nola and Scott Sudman.

In exactly one hour, we were called into the lovely air-conditioned tent, where we found our tables set with the salad course.

Dinner scene.

Darby Campbell, center, with Sharon and Richard Donnell.

Tom and Terri Hale.

Donnie and Donna Davis.

From left, Joni Maples, Kim Mitchell, and Richard Maples.

Jane and David Jolley.

From left, Ann Furrow, Congressman Tim Burchett, Sam Furrow and Marianne Wanamaker.

Elan Young and Jeremy Lloyd.

Nelson and Mariana Eddy.

Alan with Erin Rosolina, marketing director of the Institute at Tremont.

From left, Andy Lowe, Nathan and Melissa Haun. Nathan produced the video about the project that was shown. His work also can be seen on the Tremont website.

Again, the food was fantastic. I thought it was a great idea to have a plate of wrapped cookies on the table for dessert. Much more efficient than having to serve dessert.

Catey McClary, president and CEO of the Institute at Tremont, making remarks.

Director of Development Megan Womack.

Auctioneer Bear Stephenson in action.

And, after the auction, folks filed out of the wonderful tent.

And headed for the after party, held in the same location as the cocktail hour had been.

Popular local band The Bearded performed. You can hear a snippet of them at the end of this blog post.

If you were still hungry, as Amy and Hill Henry apparently were, there was popcorn!

From left, Kristin Grove, Angela Hutchinson, and Andrea Bailey at the after party.

Pee Jay and Allison Alexander.

From left, Whitfield and Brittany Bailey with Daniel and Elizabeth Wiseman.

Georgiana Vines, left, and Erin Gill.

Cecilia Wright and Caesar Stair, IV.

Here’s that music:

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3 Responses to Tremont party raises $325,000 for new “living” campus

  1. Monique Anderson, on September 6th, 2023 at 12:32 pm said:


  2. Cynthia Moxley, on September 6th, 2023 at 12:58 pm said:

    Monique: It really was. Only thing that would have made it better would have been if you and Bruce had been there!

  3. Georgiana Vines, on September 7th, 2023 at 9:36 pm said:

    Really enjoyed the event. I took pictures and then didn’t post them. Glad Blue Streak was there to capture the evening.

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