By Tracy Zupancis Hoya Staff Writer

Courtesy Office of Communications Leslie Whittington teaches in a Georgetown Public Policy Institute classroom. Whittington taught microeconomics, public finance and several other courses at GU.

Georgetown University Public Policy Professor Leslie Whittington, 45, en route to Australia for a fellowship, was killed with her family when her American Airlines flight plowed into the Pentagon Tuesday morning.

Whittington’s husband of 17 years Charles Falkenberg, 45, and their two daughters Zoe, 8, and Dana, 3, were traveling with Whittington on the Boeing 757 from Dulles to Los Angeles to spend two months in Australia, where Whittington was to work as a fellow at Australian National University in Canberra during her time on sabbatical from Georgetown.

“To describe Leslie as a powerful presence in our lives is an understatement. Her strength, warmth and love of life affected us all. She will always be with us,” Dean of Policy Studies Judith Feder said.

Feder said Whittington’s colleagues and former students “are overwhelmed with it. She is a beloved member of our community, which is like a family. She and her family are very much a part of ours,” and added that Falkenberg was “a devoted father and husband – a terrific guy.”

Alan Berube (GRD ’99), who described Whittington as his favorite teacher and good friend, said, “There are some people whom, even if you don’t see them all the time, you know the world functions better because of them. Leslie was one of those people.”

According to Feder, the family had recently purchased a house and was planning to move in upon their return from Australia.

“A colleague said it was going to be difficult enough to get through the term without her,” Feder said, “I can’t imagine it now.”

Whittington was an economist who had interests in public finance, labor markets and family policy, according to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute Web site.

Whittington taught microeconomics; public finance; race, gender and the job market; international social development and the Research Practicum at Georgetown. She had recently finished a two-year term as associate dean of the GPPI, where, according to the Institute’s Web site, she was responsible for their academic programs.

Whittington’s major research focus was the effects of income taxation on the structure of family and family behavior, specifically, “the marital disincentives created by the so-called `marriage tax,'” according to the Web site.

Falkenberg was the lead software engineer for ECOlogic Corp. in Washington, D.C., and had worked in developing software systems since 1980, according to his on-line biography. He also developed “scientific data delivery systems” for oceanographers, space and ecosystem scientists, and was working with the University of New Hampshire as part of NASA’s Earth Science Information Partnership, according to the site.

Falkenberg previously worked in Alaska to help evaluate the long-term effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Whittington graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from Regis College, Denver, in 1984. She earned her masters in economics in 1987 and her doctorate in economics in 1989 from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Before coming to Georgetown, Whittington worked as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland and was a faculty associate of the Center on Population, Gender and Social Inequality there also.

Of the national and local media attention she and the office have received, Feder said, “We love her – to help others to know her is an honor.”

The family was four of the 64 people who died on the hijacked flight, which crashed at 9:38 a.m. into the west side of the Pentagon Complex.

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