Lynn Faith Leavitt
Lynn Faith Leavitt
  • February 6, 1965 - December 14, 2017
  • Earlysville, Virginia

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Lynn Faith Hertrick Leavitt, 52, passed away Thursday morning, December 14, in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her longtime, beloved partner Ken by her side. Lynn had waged a courageous battle against a recurrence of breast cancer over the past year. Lynn was a remarkable friend, teacher, partner, daughter, and sister, who loved and cared for those around her with unwavering support.

Born in Solon, Ohio to Ray and Jacquelyn (Jackie) Hertrick, Lynn was the youngest of three children, with older siblings Bonnie and Paul. Lynn's early dream was to become a New York City Rockette; from an early age, she made up dance routines with her cousin Barb Novak. Throughout school, Lynn was involved in dance, later becoming captain of her Solon High School dance team, and going on to lead the dance team at Miami University of Ohio. Although she did not become a Rockette, Lynn did have the opportunity to see the Rockettes perform in their holiday extravaganza in New York City, thanks to her partner Ken. Lynn described this as the best trip she had ever taken!

While at Miami, in addition to dance, Lynn was very involved on campus, including as an orientation leader and a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority. She majored in Health and Human Sciences, and also received her 7-12 teaching certificate. Her background in health led to a lifelong awareness of healthy living, which she shared with her students, friends, and colleagues. Lynn always encouraged those around her to find balance in their lives, and take care of themselves. Often, Lynn would suggest a "walk and talk," to energize one both physically and mentally.

Following college, Lynn turned her focus to education. After a short time teaching at Thomas Worthington High School in Columbus, Ohio, Lynn returned to Solon and pursued her Masters in Education at Cleveland State University with a focus on Adult Learning and Leadership Development. Shortly thereafter, Lynn moved to Northern Virginia where she began her career at George Mason University, a career which spanned almost 20 years. She began working part-time with the Center for Service-Learning and Leadership, then quickly moved to the Center for New Students/The Freshman Center as Associate Director. She then moved back to the Center for Service-Learning and Leadership as Co-Director, eventually becoming its Director. For many years, this office was affiliated with New Century College, where Lynn had the opportunity to collaborate with many staff and faculty on multidisciplinary topics, sharing her expertise on leadership in a number of different fields.

After receiving her PhD from Mason in Higher Education Administration and Leadership, Lynn served as a Faculty Member in the MAIS in Higher Education Program and in the School of Management for over 7 years. Lynn also served as a Trainer and Consultant for the National Coalition Building Institute. For the last 11 years, including this semester, Lynn was teaching with Duquesne University's MS in Leadership Studies. She had also been teaching with Bay Path University's newly created Masters of Science in Leadership and Negotiation.

During summer and holiday breaks, Lynn especially enjoyed visiting her family in Medina Ohio where visits were highlighted by time shared with her beloved great nephews Owen and Colin, and a great niece, Madeline. Her "Wall of Love." photos and words of love by these loved ones. decorated her bedroom during her final days and were a great source of comfort.

Compassionate, caring, giving, supportive, patient, fun-loving, dedicated, determined, beautiful, humble, service-minded, non-judgmental, guide, mentor, leader - all these thoughts shared by Lynn's students, colleagues, and friends are words that truly embody who Lynn was and what she gave to all those around her. As one former student said, "She guided me and picked me up when I needed dusting off more times than one should have to do for a student. No matter how tough a day was, an hour with Lynn could redirect you to light." Another former student reflecting about Lynn's influence in her life stated, "She helped to spark a love for leadership in me and it was her class that really helped me realize I was a good student and had something to contribute." A close colleague noted, "Her own service ethic inspired life-long dedication to creating a more just and equitable society. Lynn instilled in her students self-confidence and a stick-to-it attitude that has made a difference for so many whose lives have been touched by alum who benefited from Lynn's wisdom and support."

As all who knew her realize, you never felt alone when Lynn was with you. She wanted you to succeed in whatever it was you were attempting or going through, and would do anything in her power to help you. That has helped many go on to shine their light in the world. Her legacy will have a significant impact on the world for many years to come.

Lynn is survived by her partner, Ken Reisig and Ken's son, Matt; brother Paul (Kathy) Hertrick; nephew Marc (Cheryl) Hertrick, niece Maddie, and nephews Owen and Colin Hertrick; and Ken's sister and brother-in-law Joyce and Charlie Donoghue, niece Katie, and nephew Brian Donoghue. While Lynn requested that there not be any service, we would like to remember her and celebrate her life by sharing any memories or pictures you may have of Lynn here on the memorial page. If you would like to make a donation in her honor, Lynn requested that donations be made to the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center at the University of Virginia.