June 1, 2023

Death of a Former Professor

Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson

To the campus community:

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the death of Claudia Emerson, a longtime and beloved faculty member at UMW. As many of you know, Claudia left the University last year to take a teaching job at Virginia Commonwealth University. She died in Richmond from complications associated with cancer.

The University of Mary Washington counts Claudia among its most distinguished professors. During her tenure here, she received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Late Wife, and she was named Virginia’s Poet Laureate in 2008 — a position she held for two years.

Hundreds of students’ lives were touched by Claudia, who was instrumental in the establishment of the creative writing concentration as an option for our English majors. When she left, after serving on the faculty here for 15 years, she held the Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry.

Our sympathies go out to her husband Kent and all of her loved ones. While we do not yet know about plans to memorialize Claudia, I am including attachments to two articles about Claudia that appeared today.





Richard V. Hurley