It is with great sadness that I write to share with you news of School of Communications Professor Dotty Lynch's passing, on Sunday, August 10.
Professor Lynch had been an Executive in Residence in SOC since 2006 and was instrumental in developing the SOC/SPA Masters in Political Communication, the program she co-directed until her retirement in June. Professor Lynch began her career in politics and journalism at NBC News in 1968 and joined the polling firm of Cambridge Survey Research in 1972, working on polling for the presidential campaigns of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter. In the 1980s, she developed the concept of the "gender gap" and was one of the major authorities on the topic of women in politics. In 1983, she established Lynch Research, a political polling firm where she was the first woman pollster in a presidential campaign -- the Gary Hart presidential race and the Mondale/Ferraro general election. Professor Lynch was a fellow at the JFK Institute of Politics at Harvard University in spring 2006 before joining the SOC faculty later that year. While at AU, she was a member of the CBS News Election Decision Desk and analyst for CBS Radio and often appeared on C-Span, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer and NPR as well as CBS Radio.
As School of Communications Dean Jeffrey Rutenbeck observed in writing to SOC colleagues and friends on the occasion of Professor Lynch's passing, "The 2012 election marked Dotty's 22nd election cycle in congressional and presidential campaigns as a professional journalist and pollster. She was the CBS News senior political editor (1985-2005) and a member of the CBS News/New York Times polling consortium." Indeed, "one of her most memorable classes took dozens of students to New Hampshire to cover the 2008 and 2012 presidential primaries. Dotty and the faculty who co-taught the class used their myriad contacts to get students tickets to national debates, provide tours of professional media operations, and meet one-on-one with candidates and journalists covering the campaign."
In celebration of Dotty's life, on Wednesday, August 13, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., family will be receiving friends at Gawler’s Funeral Home, 5130 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. On Thursday, August 14, at 11:00 a.m., a funeral Mass will be held at Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 3630 Quesada Street, NW, followed by a reception at Matisse Restaurant, 4934 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Internment of ashes will take place at a later date. In lieu of gifts, contributions may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, DC, 4200 Harewood Road, NE, Washington, DC 20017.
Our thoughts go out to Dotty's husband, Morgan Downey, and the rest of Dotty's family. We will miss her dearly.