For Immediate Release:
September 24, 2020
Primary Media Contact:
Public Relations Specialist
It is with a very heavy heart that I share the following news: Earlier this morning, Laurie Alphonse, one of our beloved full-time faculty members, passed away after fighting a very private battle with cancer. For many, including me, this probably feels like a very sudden and shocking passing. Over the last several months, Laurie’s wishes were to wage this battle on her own terms and in her own way, and knowing her, I am certain she fought hard until the very end.
Please keep Laurie’s family in your thoughts, and more specifically, her sister and Laurel Ridge IT specialist, Lisa Kremer. The loss of a sibling is truly heart breaking, so we are thinking a lot about Lisa today as well.
As we learn more about Laurie’s final wishes, we will provide you with more details. Again, I am sorry to have to share this news about such a caring, dedicated, student-focused faculty member, who will be greatly missed.
We would like to remind students, faculty, staff and community members that we have a compilation of available community resources at www.laurelridge.edu/wecare.
Laurie Susan Alphonse joined the Laurel Ridge family in the spring of 2001 as an adjunct faculty member teaching sociology at the Middletown Campus. Laurie became a full-time instructor of sociology in August 2006, and was promoted to assistant professor in 2009, and associate professor in 2013.
Laurie was a very proud alumna of Laurel Ridge, receiving her associate degree in 1991 and graduating magna cum laude. After transferring to Shepherd University, Laurie earned her bachelor of science degree in sociology with a minor in psychology and was awarded the Outstanding Student in Sociology recognition at commencement. She then went on to pursue a master of arts degree in sociology with a specialization in criminology, juvenile delinquency, and corrections from George Mason University, and graduated summa cum laude in 1994. Laurie continued to take additional coursework in criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Prior to teaching part-time and ultimately full-time at Laurel Ridge, Laurie taught as an adjunct for both Shepherd University and George Mason University – teaching at all three of her alma maters. Earlier in her career, she worked at Valley Health, as a counselor for Thin Line, Inc, and volunteered as a Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program counselor.
After Laurie joined the full-time faculty at Laurel Ridge, she led the development of the Administration of Justice Program and had been the program lead for more than a decade. She was a leader on the Violence Prevention Team, was very involved with the college’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, participated each year in the Global Awareness Day events, and always helped ensure the college was meeting its goals for creating an inclusive learning environment for all students and employees and particularly those with disabilities.
Laurie frequently received praise from her students. One recent student stated, “Professor Alphonse is great and always explains everything clearly for everyone to understand. She opens the door for questions whenever needed, and always has time for her students. If we could nominate a professor of the year, I would recommend Professor Alphonse.”
Laurie’s dean, Dr. Jay Gillispie, reiterated, “It was great to see the joy [Laurie] got from being with her students. It wasn’t easy for her to get to campus all the time and she could have easily asked to teach all online, but she told me once that she enjoyed the live interaction with the students too much to do that.” He added, “I remember observing her once and I had to keep reminding myself I was there to evaluate the class. But it was so interesting, I had a hard time staying on task.”
Those who knew, and worked with, and learned from Laurie would all agree that above all – she was passionate – passionate about people, education, advocacy and equity. Her passion and legacy will always remain present at Laurel Ridge. Laurie will be greatly missed
Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.
Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.