Colleen McElroy Honored Through Room Dedication

Back to All Stories

The main conference room in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office is now officially known as the Colleen J. McElroy Room. In a special ceremony on April 12, UW faculty and staff, and family, friends, and former colleagues of McElroy, professor emerita of English, gathered in the Dean’s Office to unveil a new plaque for the room. McElroy also recited a poem she wrote especially for the occasion. 

McElroy earned her doctorate at the University of Washington and served the UW for over 30 years. When she became a full-time professor in 1983 she became the university’s first full-time African American female faculty member. 

McElroy is the author of twelve books, including Queen of the Ebony Isles, which won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. From 1995 to 2007 she edited The Seattle Review, and from 2007 to 2010 she served on the faculty of the Cave Canem Foundation.

“We can think of no better person after whom to name the principal meeting and planning space in our College,” said Brian Reed, divisional dean of the Humanities. “Her creativity, vision, and leadership are exemplary and inspirational.”

Update: Colleen McElroy passed away on December 12, 2023 of natural causes at age 88. A Seattle Times obituary highlights her remarkable life. 

Colleen J. McElroy wrote a poem entitled “To Fool the Tricks of Time,” which will be displayed next to her photo in the newly dedicated conference room. Credit: Ian Maples/University of Washington

More Stories

Lisa Dabek holding a young tree kangaroo in her arms.

Protecting Ghosts of the Forest

Lisa Dabek (PhD, Psychology, 1994), senior conservation scientist at the Woodland Park Zoo, studies and protects tree kangaroos in the cloud forests of Papua New Guinea. 

Alexa Bednarz walking in India

Raising the (Sustainable) Roof

Alexa Bednarz (BA, Communication, 2012) turned an idea for environmentally friendly roofing material into Eco-Shelter Inc. Its first manufacturing facility will open in India in 2024. 

Headshot of Tré Cotten

For Dialect Coach, Every Voice is Unique

As a dialect coach, Tré Cotten (MFA, 2017, Acting) has gained national attention for his ability to help actors bring authenticity to their characters.