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Celebrating the life of Camille Howard

October 29, 2003

Photo of Camille HowardThe Theatre Arts Department will host a celebration of the life of Professor Camille Howard, who died earlier this month, at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Little Theatre in the Creative Arts building.

Howard, a talented and well-respected actress and dancer, died Sunday, Oct. 12, after a battle with cancer. She was 53.

"The untimely passing of Professor Camille Howard leaves the Theatre Arts Department of SFSU with a sense of incalculable loss and profound sadness," said Mohammed Kowsar, professor of theatre arts. "Professor Howard was a true Renaissance figure in all aspects of theatre practice, a brilliant pedagogue and an exceptional person. She was respected by her colleagues and was adored by generations of students who considered her an irreplaceable mentor."

Before joining the SFSU faculty in 1985, Howard spent four years as a performer for the Bay Area Repertory Dance Co. She was nominated for Best Performer of the Season by the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award in 1984 for her role as Lena in Athol Fugard's "Boesman and Lena."

Howard was a charismatic and engaging lecturer who left an indelible mark as an educator, Kowsar said.

She is remembered as "an actor of considerable talent, a superb teacher of movement and acting and a scholarly professor of Shakespeare and literary criticism," he added. "The Theatre Arts Department, her colleagues, her students and her friends will forever remember the grace with which she turned her career at San Francisco State University into a work of art."

Howard was born June 4, 1950, in Norfolk, Va. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from Stanford in 1971, master's degree in dramatic art from UC Berkeley in 1974, and doctorate in dramatic art from UC Berkeley in 1982. She also received professional theater training at the American Conservatory Theatre, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, and Paul Mann Actor's Workshop.

Howard is survived by her daughter Robyn Kali Bacon of Los Angeles; her mother and step-father Lenard and Narcissus Henley of Vallejo; brothers Gregory Allen Howard of Alexandria; Ricardo J. Henley (Barbara), and their son Robert of Suisun; Michael C. Henley (Denise) and their daughter Valencia; and sister Lynette Henley of Vallejo.

A memorial Mass was held Oct. 16 at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Berkeley. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to the University of California, San Francisco, Cancer Center.

For details, contact the Theatre Arts Department at (415) 338-1341 or

-- Matt Itelson


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Last modified October 29, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs