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Education Professor Jill Dustin Remembered for her Passion, Love of Teaching

Jill Dustin, whose kindness, humor and care for students was renowned in Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education, has died. She was 57.

Dustin, associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Services, died Jan. 30 with her partner, Tony, at her side.

Dean Jane Bray said Dustin, who joined the Darden College faculty in 1998, was a cherished colleague who loved Old Dominion. "She was known for her kindness, wisdom, wit, cheer, contagious enthusiasm for life and courage," Bray wrote in a letter to the college.

Dustin had a lifelong desire to teach, but as one of six children she lacked the resources to attend college right after high school. Working various jobs, Dustin took classes on the way toward her associate's degree. Dustin ultimately earned a doctorate in counselor education and supervision from the University of Cincinnati in 1996, 20 years after her high school graduation.

At Old Dominion, Dustin served as coordinator of the human services program from 2005 to 2009. In 2007, she received Old Dominion's top undergraduate teaching honor, being named a University Professor.

Dustin served as an associate editor of the Journal for Human Services and on numerous professional committees. Dustin was the 2005 recipient of the National Organization for Human Services' Miriam Clubok Award for Outstanding Leadership. She twice received the Most Inspiring Faculty Member award from the Darden College of Education.

Tim Grothaus, chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services, said the inspiration Dustin provided will live on.

"While her passing leaves us grieving and missing her, it is my belief that she sowed seeds of kindness, wisdom, wit, cheer, contagious enthusiasm for life and courage in all who had the good fortune to know her," Grothaus said. "I also believe we might honor her by keeping the light inside of us, one that she so generously shared and kindled, and carrying it forward."

A memorial service for Dustin will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, at 202 Broad St. in Suffolk. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Suffolk Animal Care Center, 123 Forest Glen Drive in Suffolk.

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