‘She fought for what was right’: Dean of students remembered after car crash
Published Thursday, April 25, 2019 5:29PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 26, 2019 7:18PM EDT
The community is in mourning after a known champion of students died suddenly, struck by a car while walking on a sidewalk in Waterloo.
Leanne Holland Brown, 43, was the dean of students at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus, but her reach went far beyond the school.
Dozens of community members expressed their sadness following the news of her death, remembering fondly all that she did for students.
“She was the kindest person I’ve met and a most extraordinary individual,” says David MacMurray, vice president of student affairs at Laurier.
Holland Brown was the kind of person who took the time to pen handwritten notes to friends and bosses.
After she was appointed as the new dean of students, a role that McMurray held for a number of years, she wrote him a card.
“You inspire me towards selfless dedication and authentic, heartfelt relationships,” he reads from the note.
Holland Brown was responsible for introducing Wilfrid Laurier’s Friendship Bench, an initiative that followed a number of student suicides on campus.
“There are people who care a lot about you and help you navigate the challenges that you're experiencing,” she told CTV at the time.
Local politicians also expressed their sadness and condolences to her sudden passing.
“She listened to students when they needed help to achieve their academic goals and to her colleagues when they had a rough day or needed a shoulder to cry on,” a statement from MPPs Laura Mae Lindo and Catherine Fife reads in part.
“She fought for what Laurier students needed, and she fought for what was right.”
Mayors Berry Vrbanovic and Dave Jaworsky also shared their condolences.
An outpouring of support from hundreds more circulated online as many students have left campus for the school year.
Holland Brown leaves behind a husband and two sons. The university says that information about a visitation will be announced in the coming days.