Saybrook College Master Paul Hudak is in critical condition due to side effects from a stem cell transplant in 2010.
At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Saybrook students were informed by an email from Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway that Hudak is in critical condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Hudak, who has leukemia and received a stem cell transplant to ameliorate his condition in 2010, suffered a “sudden and serious” setback to his recovery due to side effects from his treatment. Though little is known about his condition besides the fact that it is serious, Saybrook students have been quick to rally behind Hudak’s family members, who have come to New Haven to support him.
“Even when he isn’t in Saybrook or is away recovering, we always know and feel that he is watching out for us and really cares for us,” Araba Koomson ’17 said. “There hasn’t been a point this year where I didn’t feel supported by Master Hudak and the Master’s Office, which I think is a pretty selfless feat for someone who is sick and suffering to achieve.”
Hudak was diagnosed with leukemia during his second year as Saybrook master. He received a stem cell transplant that year, but experienced bothersome and persistent side effects following the procedure. This resulted in Hudak informing his college that he would be stepping down from his position at the end of this academic year.
Though the exact timing of Hudak’s decline in health is still unknown, Saybrook Associate Master Cathy Van Dyke SOM ’86 made the decision to inform Saybrook that he has been taken into critical condition yesterday evening, Holloway said in his email.
According to Holloway’s email and an additional message sent by Senior Fellow Robert Levine, Hudak’s family has come to the hospital to support him during this recent challenge. Levine and Holloway welcomed notes of encouragement from the Yale community and Saybrook students — and many individuals have already answered these calls for support.
Magdalena Zielonka ’17 said the response to Holloway’s email has been “immediate and profound,” and that she encourages the whole Saybrook community to support one another during this tough time.
“I can without a doubt say that Master Hudak has had a tremendous impact on all Saybrugians, and the extent to which his absence over these past few months has been felt is a testament to his incredible person and work in Saybrook,” she said.
Jordan Coley ’17 said it is unfortunate that Hudak has been sick for most of Coley’s time at the University. Coley said he has heard stories from juniors, seniors and Hudak himself about the master suiting up for club lacrosse and playing intramural basketball, among other activities. Hudak is a lighthearted, caring individual with a wonderful sense of humor, Coley said.
Yale College Council President Michael Herbert ’16, also a member of Saybrook, noted that Hudak has always gone out of his way to be visible to students, adding that his thoughts and prayers are with Hudak’s family as they support Hudak in his recovery.
“When the new master for Saybrook was announced, Salovey acknowledged Hudak’s service and there was an extended standing ovation,” Herbert said.
Hudak became the ninth master of Saybrook College on July 1, 2009.