Inspiring alumna to address Tech grads on Saturday

TTU – Tennessee Tech’s 856 fall graduates will hear ideas on how to be lifelong learners during Saturday’s commencement ceremonies.

Sarah J. Cripps, a 1994 Tech graduate, attended public school in DeKalb County and was the first totally blind student to have been mainstreamed in Tennessee public school system throughout the entirety of her secondary school career.

Cripps returns to her alma mater as the commencement speaker where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a 4.0 grade point average and received the university’s highest honor, the Derryberry Award. While at Tech, she was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Phi Alpha Theta, Omicron Delta Kappa and was named a Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

Cripps earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law and over the past 20 years has maintained a solo practice in Smithville. She also served as Smithville’s city attorney for several years.

She is married to Raymond Mack Garner, an attorney in Maryville, who serves as the elected fifth district public defender. They have two dogs: Iris Bronte Cripps, a Yorkshire terrier; and Penny Garner, a Standard Poodle.

Her hobbies include playing the guitar and singing folk music, reading, swimming and hiking.

Graduates of the arts and sciences, engineering, interdisciplinary studies and nursing programs will walk in the 9:30 a.m. commencement while graduates of the agriculture and human ecology, business and education programs will walk in the 2 p.m. commencement.

The fall 2018 graduating class consists of women and men from 73 counties throughout Tennessee, 24 states and 28 other countries. Those receiving undergraduate degrees represent 38 fields of study while those receiving graduate degrees represent 25 fields of study.

Commencement ceremonies will be held in the Hooper-Eblen Center.

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