FERRUM, VA – On June 1, 2021, Ferrum College will welcome Lydia and Justin Kitts to its campus family. Lydia will serve as the College’s senior director of Strategic Communications and Justin has been named dean of Innovation and Opportunity.
“I’m excited to join a community where good people are doing good things – guiding our students, and each other, to fulfill their purpose,” said Lydia, who has been teaching communications at Union College (Barbourville, KY) since 2017. “I can’t wait to share those stories with potential students and families, showing them the promise of Ferrum.”
Justin expressed the same anticipation. “This position marries my love of student development and desire to see students reach their professional goals. Fulfilling the promise of college not only helps our students but will also have a larger impact on the communities in which they work,” he said. Justin currently serves as dean of students at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC.
When the couple arrives at Ferrum College, it will be the first time in five years that they and their two children, Weston (6) and Lavinia (5), will be able to spend every night of the week in the same home. “We’ve ‘lived’ in the same home – but the kids and I would drive between Berea, KY and Banner Elk, NC every week, with a day of driving in between,” explained Lydia.
Justin, originally from Minot, ND, received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Lees-McRae College in 2007. He went on to earn his Master of Arts in College Student Development from Appalachian State University in 2010. Justin has served as resident director, director of Greek life, and director of Summer Conferencing at Lees-McRae (2007-2009); director of Campus Life and Recreation at Lees-McRae (2010-2013); and director of Campus Life, director of Housing and Residence Life, and dean of students at Union College (2013-2019).
Lydia, a Berea, KY native, received her Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts Studies from Lees-McRae in 2012. She earned a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations from Kent State University in 2017. She has a professional background at Union College as an admissions counselor (2013-2014); coordinator of communications (2014-2017); director of digital marketing (2014-2017); and lead graphic designer (2015-2017).
“My passion has been working with students in the Appalachian Mountains. As a child I learned a great deal about these mountains from those who call them home, in particular, the value of family and the importance of support,” explained Justin. “Throughout my career I have sought opportunities that allowed me to give back to the mountains and her people. My drive has always been student-focused, supplying students with the right amount of challenge and support to ensure they not only reach their goals but also exceed them.”
“Over the past few years, I’ve poured my heart and soul into teaching students how to think, connect, and create strategically, all while running my own business doing the same on the side,” said Lydia. “I’ve been consulting with institutions and nonprofits throughout Appalachia as they develop strategic storytelling and communications plans. Now I’m thrilled to support Ferrum College as we bring the new strategic plan to life.”