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Leslie Woodard, English professor and Dean of Calhoun College, died unexpectedly today in her home in Calhoun.
Although the precise cause of her death is not known, Yale College Dean Mary Miller emailed the Yale community saying that Woodard appeared to have died of natural causes.
“She was an incredible Dean of Calhoun College and a wonderful human being,” University President Peter Salovey told the News. “I feel so sorry about her passing and my heart goes out especially to the Calhoun community.”
At Yale, Woodard taught the creative writing course, “Introduction to Fiction.” Woodard was the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in 2002 and was also a published writer, authoring a collection of short stories called The Silver Crescent in 2006. Before coming to the University, Woodard was the Director of Undergraduate Creating Writing at Columbia University, advising hundreds of students.
“The memory of Dean Woodard’s energy, enthusiasm and incredibly caring personality will live on in our hearts,” Ryan Campbell ’16, a member of Calhoun, said in an email to the News. “As she always used to say, ‘Hounies stick together.’ And it’s true.”
Before her passing, Woodard was working on a new novel entitled “The Last Tour of the Hot-House Flower.” The work built on her experiences as a dancer for the Dance Theater of Harlem, where she performed for more than a decade.
Woodard received her undergraduate degree in Literature and Writing at Columbia University in 1994 and her masters in Creative Writing from New York University in 1996.