Professor Lee Watts
LeClaire (Lee) B. Watts of Storrs, one of the most respected and beloved professors in Eastern’s history, died in 2009. Watts taught Spanish and Spanish Literature at Eastern after earning her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut in 1968. She eventually created Eastern’s Modern Language Department and chaired it for many years.
“Lee was a visionary with the discipline and spirit to captivate and motivate students to aspire to their potential,” said Professor Emerita Sonia Cintron-Marrero, Watts’ long-time colleague. “She instilled a love for Spanish and encouraged her students to belong to professional organizations. To me, she was a mentor, a role model and a very special friend who I miss greatly. She was the consummate chair: professional, efficient and astute, yet with personal warmth that made it a pleasure to work in our department.”
An endowed scholarship was established by Watts’ husband, Steve, an emeritus professor of political science at UConn, to recognize her love for Eastern and her tremendous admiration for the many colleagues in the department. The balance in the scholarship fund recently surpassed the $100,000 mark.
“Lee truly had a passion for teaching, and for interacting with young people,” he said. “This was an easy gift for me to make knowing how much Eastern meant to her. Her goal in life was to inspire young people to pursue the study of language and this endowed scholarship not only recognizes and honors her but also provides financial support for deserving students who have a keen interest in Spanish. It is certainly a legacy that would make Lee very happy.”