Remembering Leanne Holland Brown

Leanne Holland Brown, the dean of students on the Waterloo campus, passed on Wednesday evening.

“Leanne was a loving and compassionate individual who embodied the Laurier spirit and sense of community. She enriched the lives of all who had the privilege of knowing her, and she will be deeply missed.” Laurier president Deborah MacLatchy said in a statement released on April 25, 2019.

We invite the Laurier and broader community to share their memories of Leanne in the form below. Stories shared will be compiled and published on this page.

The Laurier community is encouraged to reach out to supports and resources if needed, such as the Student Wellness Centre and the Delton Glebe Counselling Centre.

On my last day as editor in chief of The Cord, I had an exit meeting with Leanne. She praised my work throughout the year, and I thanked her for being a constant support to my team and I. She was always willing to help, provide feedback and services. When I left her office, she said: “I want you to email me in 5 years and tell me what you’re doing, because it’s going to be great.” Thank you for your leadership; this is a huge loss for the Laurier community. Rest peacefully, Leanne.

– Bethany Bowles

This is truly heartbreaking. Leanne Holland Brown was one of the first people I was introduced to in the Laurier-Waterloo administration, and she stood out as someone who made an effort to say hi to me whenever she saw me. It’s those small acts that can make an outsider feel comfortable in a new place, and it’s that attitude that made her a shining example of what it actually means to be a Golden Hawk. Even though I wasn’t a student anymore, I was new to the space and she helped me feel welcome. That’s the effect she had on people, and that’s also why the university’s statement on her passing is so accurate and so painful. She brought out the best in a lot of people, and things won’t be the same without her. My heart goes out to her family at this time, and to all the students who overcame their struggles because of her support.

– Kurtis Rideout

Leanne seemed like the only faculty who cared about students sometimes. She really put students at the forefront of her job, and though that’s seems obvious, a lot of people are really at the job to make a pay cheque. She was there to make a difference in the lives of students. So many WLU success stories have Leanne at the foundation. She is an irreplaceable soul and will be so missed.

– Goldie Hawk

Leanne inspired me to get into my work in Student Affairs. She had this incredibly kind, genuine, and authentic spirit that I’ve lived my life aspiring to have. Her kindness, compassion, and unrelenting ability to uplift others will never be forgotten. The world has been and will continue to be a much better place thanks to the mark Leanne has left on us all.

– Ryan Connell

The Laurier community is heartbroken from the passing of Leanne Holland Brown. I had the chance to meet her through my work as a Residence Life Don at Wilfrid Laurier University. In the short conversations we had at Residence Life events I found that she was kind and compassionate, as well as sincere in her words. I wish only the best for her family, friends, colleagues, and the Laurier community as we mourn in this time of tragedy. Her leadership and kindness will never be forgotten.

– Olivia Yale

I remember her speak of her experiences at Laurier during my 2016 orientation week. The passion and love she had for the Laurier community was unrivalled. I will miss her greatly.

– E.M.

Another great individual taken from us way too early. Leanne was a close mentor of mine during my time at Laurier, and truly embodied the values the institution instills in its staff and students. My thoughts are with her family, the Laurier community, and everyone who was lucky enough to know her.

– Colin Aitchison

It was February 2016 when I was on the verge of throwing in the towel. Out of OSAP and out of will to keep going. You told me to keep my head up, gave me support, and you got me out of my rut. You had a tremendous impact on my life and will continue to do so as you will continue to live on through the impact you had. My condolences to your family. You where a light in dark times to many. Your empathy, compassion, and care is irreplaceable.

– Dmitrie Boutaev

Leanne was a former student in the Department of French Studies of the University of Waterloo. I never had the chance to meet her, but my colleagues remember Leanne very well. Leanne was a dynamic student, and was very involved in the cultural and social life of the department. All the members of the Department of French studies join me to offer our condolences to Leanne’s family and the Wilfrid Laurier community.
Guy Poirier
French Studies
University of Waterloo

Leanne était une ancienne étudiante du département d’études françaises de l’Université de Waterloo, et avait obtenu son BA en 2000. Je n’ai pas connu Leanne, mais mes collègues se souviennent d’une personne dynamique et très impliquée dans la vie départementale. Toutes mes collègues et tous mes collègues du département d’études françaises se joignent à moi afin d’offrir à la famille de Leanne et à l’Université Wilfrid Laurier nos plus sincères condoléances.
Guy Poirier
Études françaises
University of Waterloo

Leanne was someone who cared for the students, always wanted them to succeed, and never forgot about you each time you saw her. Her door was always open and she was willing to talk to students for any and every reason that they might need. During final exam season, I always studied in the 24 hour lounge. I’d always drop by the Office of Student Affairs to say hi to Leanne and the others. Every single time, she had a smile on her face, and would always give me some words of encouragement for my finals. I will always remember our conversations both on campus and in your office, and I hope you know that you will be missed by not just the Laurier community, but many, many more as well.

– Nicholas Garcia

I am devastated to hear about Dean Leanne. Dean Leanne was a huge support to me during a very difficult time in university. She was a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. She had an enormous impact on the wellbeing and mental health of students at Laurier. She will be greatly missed, and I am forever grateful for the support and compassion she provided to me.

– Madison Bartley- WLU Alumni

I remember the first time I met Leanne. I didn’t want to be in your office, but you asked to meet with me due to a mental health emergency in my life. Once I realized I could trust you, I opened up to you. I told you how hard everything was and you listened. I cried while you held my hand. We met many other times after that. Whether it be in your office or for coffee, you meant a lot to me. You were like a mother away from home.

After you helped me get my life back on track, I started thriving again. You watched me compete, and told me how proud you were of me. At the Outstanding Women of Laurier dinner, our name tags just happened to be placed side by side at the dinner table. You turned to me and said “I’m so glad you’re here.” I said “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.” I meant that.

I will miss you, as well as the rest of the Laurier community. Thank you for being one of the good ones in this world. I promise to do something great with this life that you helped me rebuild. I’m so privileged I had the amazing opportunity to get to know you. My condolences to Leanne’s friends and families. Rest in sweet peace Leanne.

Menley Langham

I was working in a cubicle in the 24-hour lounge, on a Saturday, crying because I was positive I wouldn’t be able to meet my deadline on the paper. She very kindly knocked on the door, offered me a snack, and sat with me for a bit and reassured me that I would be able to finish it and it would be fine. I have never forgotten her kindness.

– Brittany T