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Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch Faculty senate chair Paige Muellerleile introduces the deans during the Marshall University fall general faculty meeting on Monday, September 11, 2017, in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — Marshall University is mourning the loss of one of its most accomplished and well-respected faculty with the death of Paige Muellerleile. She died early Friday at the age of 48 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.

Muellerleile formerly chaired Marshall's Faculty Senate from 2016 to 2018, and taught as a professor in the department of psychology, from which she retired this spring after 12 years at the university. She specialized in social psychology with a focus as a gender and health care statistician.

"My heart is broken over this loss, and it is extremely difficult to accept," Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert said in a statement.

"She was a friend and colleague to so many people and an outstanding educator for thousands of students. She will be deeply missed. Her strength and her courage were an inspiration to us all."

Muellerleile wrote multiple research articles, presentations and grants and had been an active volunteer in the Marshall and Huntington community, serving as board president for the CONTACT Rape Crisis Center.

She received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Arizona State University, and master's and doctoral degrees in social psychology from Syracuse University. She previously taught in the University of Wisconsin System before coming to Marshall.

"Paige cared deeply for her students and her colleagues," said Philippe Georgel, professor of biological sciences and current faculty senate chairman. "She will be remembered for her exceptional service and commitment to Marshall University."

Muellerleile was married to the late Jeff Kovatch, a biology professor at Marshall whom she met while at Syracuse. He died of a brain aneurysm in 2016.

She leaves behind two young daughters.

Funeral arrangements are pending with Henson & Kitchen Mortuary.

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