Dear Members,

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I share news of the passing of AFW Member and Vice Provost Kelly Ward. She experienced a fatal head injury while out walking with her horse last week.

AFW will pay tribute to Kelly Ward at this upcoming Tuesday’s AFW event.

Kelly has regularly collaborated with AFW leadership since she became Vice Provost. I had the pleasure of going for a long walk with Kelly in May, in which our conversation seamlessly flowed between work and life, from the most pressing professional concerns to the most personal struggles. It was a brilliant testament to her range of investment in the complexity of women’s lives and careers. At the end of our walk, we sat down to business, and she presented me with a flood of ideas for elevating the status of faculty women at WSU through our combined efforts in AFW and the Provost’s Office.

Some of you may recall Kelly’s New Year’s Resolution, which she shared at the AFW Holiday party last December. In four words, she declared that she would smash the glass ceiling. As I witness the tributes to her on social media, I see that she has dedicated her life to recognizing and honoring the gifts she sees in other women. With countless numbers of women lifted and empowered by Kelly’s enthusiastic personal support and tenacious commitment to systemic change, I see, now, that she was already smashing glass ceilings—the ones that blocked the paths of her friends, colleagues, and all the women she represented.

My warmest condolences to all,

Leeann Hunter
President, Association for Faculty Women