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English Professor Naton Leslie, Ph.D., Dies at 57
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Naton “Nate” Leslie, Ph.D., a Siena College English professor since 1990, passed away on December 26 after a long battle with cancer. He was 57 years old.
An author who published poetry, books and essays, Leslie shared his passion for creative writing with Siena students for more than 20 years. He taught courses in writing fiction, writing poetry, writing nonfiction, the short story, contemporary literature and classics.
Leslie won Siena’s Raymond Kennedy Excellence in Scholarship Award in 2010-11. He also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts during his career.
"I recently had an opportunity to hear from both a student and a colleague of Nate's. They shared a similar sentiment that Nate encouraged them to dream and to use writing, in any form, to express themselves," said Linda Richardson, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs.
Leslie’s classes were sought after by students, including Allison (Maloney) Turcio ’06 who took poetry as a senior and now works in the College’s marketing and communications office.
“I'll never forget how excited my friend, Christina, and I were to get in because it was such a popular class. Dr. Leslie created an environment where we were able to give one another honest feedback, yet feel completely supported in the poetry we were creating,” said Turcio, who met her husband CJ in that class.
Leslie was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010. He returned to the classroom in September 2011 after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments and taught writing poetry, writing for magazines and internships.
"Dr. Leslie was an encouraging professor who was clearly passionate about the art of writing. He pushed his students to do their very best, and it was evident that he cared about our work, growth and accomplishments both in and out of the classroom," said Ericka Pier '14, who took Leslie's writing short fiction class as a sophomore.
Leslie grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from Ohio University.
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