It’s with a heavy heart I write this post in memoriam of Professor Gridley McKim-Smith, an amazing woman, scholar and mentor. News of her passing was just relayed to the Bryn Mawr community, the weight of which I’m still processing.
Professor McKim-Smith has been an invaluable presence at Bryn Mawr since her arrival in 1982. Her passion for the arts and cultures of Latin America and Baroque Spain was inherent and never lost on her students. I had the pleasure of taking her course Material Identities in Latin America 1820-2010 in the fall of my sophomore year. Professor McKim-Smith guided us on lively field trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MoMA, and El Museo del Barrio. Her lectures were dynamic, engaging, and above all, inspiring.
I am also lucky to have known her as a mentor. Professor McKim-Smith was always an invaluable resource in contemplating research topics and sources. I cherish the moments I spent in her office, sharing ideas and exchanging stories. She had encouraged me to apply for the combined AB/MA program and went out of her way to connect me with colleagues in fields I hope to pursue post-graduation. I had looked forward to taking more courses with her this spring and into next year as a graduate student.
I last saw Professor McKim-Smith on a late July afternoon in New York. I was making my way through the masses towards MoMA when I spotted her leaving the museum. She possessed an understated elegance that I had always admired. We spoke briefly about our summer adventures before comparing notes on the current New York exhibitions. She smiled and wished me luck before parting ways.
Professor McKim-Smith’s absence will be felt for many years to come. She was an immeasurable asset to the History of Art department and Bryn Mawr community at large.