Sara Croley (’00)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner

While a lack of nurses nationwide has strained the healthcare system, Sara Croley and her husband Ross made the largest investment UT has received to help protect healthcare in Tennessee by expanding the capacity for the nursing program. After working for several years in healthcare herself, Croley dedicated her time and wealth to directly give back to her community.

Caring for her three younger siblings while their parents worked inspired Croley to have a career centered on taking care of others. A third-generation UT graduate, in 2000 she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing with a minor in adolescent health. She spent several years as a pediatric nurse and clinical instructor, then shifted focus to volunteer work within the Knoxville community.

Most recently, Croley volunteered with organizations to help administer COVID-19 vaccines. She understood the need for additional space to teach those who were willing to serve as caretakers. The Croleys’ investments have expanded UT’s College of Nursing, as well as funded multiple scholarships and the Endowed Dean’s Chair for the College of Nursing.

Croley has been honored for her time and volunteer dedication to Farragut, Tennessee, public schools. Playing an instrumental role in implementing the backpack buddies program at Farragut Primary and Intermediate Schools, she helped kids experiencing food insecurity take meals home for the weekend. She won the Lifetime Achievement Award from Tennessee PTA—the largest and oldest child advocacy association—and was recognized by the American Red Cross for countless hours volunteered in school clinics. Croley, her husband, and their two children reside in Knoxville.