2015 Outstanding Alumnus
The Southwest Alumni Association is currently reviewing nominations for the 2015 Alumnus of the Year award. This award is given to an outstanding alumnus who has established him/herself as an important part of their community. The candidate must hold an earned degree from Southwest Tennessee Community College. He/she must be accomplished in their business, profession, life work or other worthy endeavors. The selection committee, headed by the alumni association president, will review the nominations and determine the recipient in April 2015. The recipient will be notified in April 2015 and the award will be presented at the Commencement ceremony in May 2015.
2014 Alumnus of the Year
The 2014 Alumnus of the Year is Chef Steven G. Leake. Before he received his Associate of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1988, Chef Leake, the 10th of 11 children, had already spent numerous years training in his profession when he began his first job in a local seafood restaurant at the tender age of 15. He worked his way up there from kitchen supervisor to line cook at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. Soon thereafter, he was promoted to sous chef and began honing his ice carving skills at the Omni Hotel. Upon graduation, he worked at the Fogelman and Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church as the executive chef before coming to Southwest Tennessee Community College as the full-time culinary instructor and program coordinator. He also owns and operates Premier Ice Sculptures, LLC.
Leake has won numerous awards for his culinary skills and dedication to volunteer and community service including Chef of the Year by the Greater Memphis Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, the Presidential Medallion for outstanding dedication and participation in the “Great Chef’s Tasting,” and he placed first in the ACF Memphis’ Seafood Mystery Basket Competition in March of 2004. He has served as president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and currently serves as assistant to the secretary and chapter historian for the Memphis Chapter of the American Culinary Federation. He also has volunteered as culinary consultant for the Boys and Girls Club of Memphis. He also appeared on all of the major local news stations and the “Jubilee Cooking Show,” a local cable program performing cooking demonstrations and discussing current food trends. Chef Leake and his hospitality students currently volunteer at numerous charity events including the Memphis Child Advocacy Center, The Madonna Learning Center and Porter Leath. They also provide delicious, heartwarming meals to patients and their families at the St. Jude Grizzlies House. In 2012, he was awarded the associate award of excellence by the Memphis Metropolitan Hotel Lodging Association because of his commitment and dedication toward his students’ educational path and career success.