Srinivas Aravamudan, a professor of English and former dean of humanities, died Wednesday.

Aravamudan was recognized for championing the humanities, including directing both the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute and the Humanities Writ Large Initiative as well as serving as dean of the humanities until 2014. Duke announced in a release that the University has lowered its flags in respect. He was 54. 

"We are very sad to have lost a greatly esteemed colleague, a delightful, playful and witty friend, and a leader of vision and compassion,” Sarah Beckwith, chair of the English department, said in the release.

Beckwith also offered condolences to Aravamudan’s wife, Ranjana Khanna, a professor of English, women’s studies and literature.

Aravamudan was a scholar of British, French and postcolonial literature. In 2000—the year he joined Duke's faculty—he won an outstanding first book prize from the Modern Language Association, and he has published several other books.

His work at Duke with the Humanities Writ Large sought to boost undergraduate engagement in humanities scholarship. Aravamudan was the president of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, which is comprised of 207 organizations worldwide and based out of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute.

He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and taught at the University of Utah and the University of Washington prior to joining Duke’s faculty.

"He brought his great intellectual gifts and his leadership skills together to unusual and marked effect,” Beckwith said.