August 6, 2021
Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
I am writing with great sadness to let you know that Yul Fagalar, sous chef in Catering, died Wednesday night following a brief but aggressive illness. Yul was a rare human being—a talented chef, a beloved colleague, and a positive force on this campus and in the community—and we deeply mourn his loss.
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Groton, Yul’s culinary career spanned over four decades, taking him to the Florida Keys, Nantucket, and Block Island, before returning him to New London county for stints at Noah’s in Stonington and Coastal Gourmet in Mystic. He joined Connecticut College in 2014 as an on-call cook in Catering and Dining, and was promoted five years later to catering sous chef.
I can think of few people more committed to our students than Yul. Even as an on-call employee, he made it a point to attend Commencement every year, just to celebrate the seniors he had come to know through catering events or working late night shifts at Oasis. I will never forget the time during the blizzard of 2015, with no buses running, Yul walked to the College from his home in New London because, as he said at the time, “somebody had to feed those kids.” And in March 2020, when the Mayor of New London asked the College for volunteers to help school children access the meals they could not get in lockdown, Yul was one of the first to sign up. He believed that it was the responsibility of every dining staff member to make a positive difference in the lives of students, and he lived out that conviction every day. In the process, he touched so many people.
Our trustees benefited from his special talents during Board of Trustee weekends. A familiar presence at Saturday morning breakfasts, Yul was known for his exquisite made-to-order omelets and his ebullient spirit, which always set the tone for the day. I always looked forward to the times when he came to oversee events at our house on 772 Williams Street, because I knew not only that the food would be delicious but also that our kitchen would be filled with the warmth of his giant personality. His death is a real blow to our community.
When the new semester begins, we will hold a gathering on campus to celebrate Yul’s life with staff, students, faculty, and members of his family. Information about that event will be shared as soon as it is available.
For those who are grieving, please know there are many places to turn for support. Students may reach an off-site licensed professional clinician at no cost by calling Student Counseling Services (860-439-4587). College employees may access counseling through the HigherEd Employee Assistance Program (800-252-4555).
On behalf of the College, I want to express my deepest condolences to Yul’s family: his son, Jonathan; his daughter-in-law Erin; his four grandchildren and his one great granddaughter; as well as the many friends he left behind both here on campus and in the region.