"She was really just a ray of light in my semester. She was so amazing and really knew how to make people feel comfortable and happy and respected in the classroom," said junior Hailey Burkett.

Students of L.M. Wood are holding on to the light their professor brought to Arts West every day. 

"I will think of her on any project this semester knowing that it would have been her and our critique would have been from her," Burkett said. 

Burkett said she is saying goodbye to a mentor far too soon. 

"It’s a really weird feeling, knowing she's not going to come back. It’s very strange. It’s very hard to process," Burkett said.

Now the art community at Elon is grieving the death of a friend. A beloved professor's legacy, already in full bloom.

"Walking the hall this morning and seeing the memorial that someone left. Some flowers in the hallway and the notes, you made the world a gentler place, I think that’s what it is," said Michael Fels, professor of art and chair of the department.

Fels remembers his colleague who had a passion for creativity and spirit.

"Elon swallows us up with the requirements of teaching and scholarship and service and committees. She seemed really focused on what mattered to her, and that was teaching," Fels said. 

For Burkett, she said the lessons Wood taught go far beyond the classroom.

"She was always really good about letting people stay themselves," Fels said. 

Now, the Elon art community is holding on to the memories and ways L.M. Wood changed this university. 

"We move forward and figure out what she did so we can scab it together so students don’t miss an experience that they deserve," Fels said.