Lester Goran, founder of the University of Miami’s Creative Writing Program, passed away Thursday. He was 85 years old.
Goran started his tenure in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1960. He developed the first creative writing curriculum in 1965. He also helped establish the Masters in Fine Arts program in 1991.
According to a report in The Miami Herald, Goran died at Baptist Hospital in Kendall. The cause of death is not known.
Goran wrote 14 novels, a memoir and three short story collections in his 50-year-long writing career. Throughout his time at UM, he taught more than 20,000 students.
Many of his works are set in his hometown Pittsburgh, Pa., growing up in government housing. He joined the Army at 16 after World War II, and became a corporal. Through the GI Bill, he attended the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there.
Evelina Galang, director of the Creative Writing Program, considered Goran an inspiration to many writers.
“He was a bright light who made the University of Miami’s Creative Writing Program what it is today,” Galang said in a press release prepared by the College of Arts and Sciences.
Goran is survived by his wife Edythe and their three sons John, Robert and William.