We are devastated to report that Spela Gruden, Programmes Team Leader in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film died on Tuesday 7 November 2023, more than three years after being diagnosed with cancer. She died peacefully at home, with her closest friend by her side and music all around her.
Spela was at the heart of the Teaching and Learning Team in SLLF’s Professional Services. She joined Queen Mary in 2006 as administrator for the pre-sessional and in-sessional programmes in the then Learning Development Unit and transferred with them when this became the Language Centre within SLLF in 2012. Her role expanded to support the whole range of programmes offered by the School, and in 2019 she was promoted to lead the programmes administration team. Her dedication to her work supporting her colleagues and our students was second to none.
Spela’s smiling face was familiar to many across the university, not only those who would have had contact with her in the course of her work. She will be remembered by many for her joyful participation in the Professional Services Christmas discos. Her love of music was legendary, and she bumped into many QMUL colleagues at a variety of different live music venues. She enjoyed life to the full at every opportunity, not only with her enthusiastic gig attendance, but also pursuing her interests in film, literature, politics and travel. She was fiercely independent and loved exploring new places, mostly on foot. She was able to continue these passions almost to the very end, attending her last festival at the end of August this year.
Spela will be remembered as welcoming and open to everyone, always approachable, interested and interesting. Colleagues share memories of many different conversations with her, on an extensive range of subjects. Her passing leaves us all the poorer, and we will miss her enormously.