The Reece Museum was full on Friday, Sept. 9 as many gathered to celebrate the life of Linda Gibson, who served as ETSU’s Director of Disability Services for 15 years. As the memorial service progressed it became clear that Gibson, who passed away this summer, was loved by all.
Students, faculty and family came to listen to stories of how Gibson improved and expanded the university’s disability services department to be one of the best in the state. As three speakers shared their stories in front of the crowd a woman stood nearby translating their words into sign language, illustrating the spirit of inclusion that Gibson fostered during her time at ETSU.
Libby Tipton, Interpreter Coordinator at ETSU, worked with Gibson for 15 years and spoke highly of her friend and colleague.
“Linda was always excited and she had so many ideas,” Tipton said. “She was like a physical library. She knew about court cases and laws and how they applied to students with disabilities.”
According to Tipton, Gibson used her vast knowledge and desire to help other people to make a positive impact on the lives of every student she came in contact with.
“She believed in all students having equal access to programs on campus,” Tipton said. “She wanted students with disabilities to have the full college experience.”
Next to speak was Lance Alexis, Director of Disability Services at MTSU, who interned with Gibson as a graduate student.
“I came to ETSU as a grad student in 2004 without a direction,” Alexis said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. But ETSU gave me direction in the form of Linda.”
It was Gibson’s guidance and passion which led Alexis to eventually make disability services his career.
“I was impressed by her passion for the profession,” said Alexis as he reminisced on his time as an intern.
“Even after I left ETSU, I would call her up if I had any questions, and she always answered,” Alexis said. “I can never thank her enough.”
Last to speak was Micah Davis, a current ETSU student, who experienced firsthand how dedicated Gibson was to ensuring that every student at ETSU is equipped to succeed.
“I met her my first day on campus when I was terrified to come to school with a visual impairment,” Davis said. “She promised me that she would do anything to make sure that I was successful.”
As he tearfully concluded his speech, Davis emphasized the lasting effect that Gibson has had on ETSU’s student body.
“She touched the lives of thousands of students across this university and I’m one of them,” Davis said.