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Beloved friend, colleague, professor dies over break

I0515 American Studies ind group
I0515 American Studies ind group

By Grace Moody, News Editor

Adrian Gaskins, a lecturer in the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University, died over winter term. His colleagues were informed of his death Jan. 8.

Gaskins joined Miami in 2008 and conducted research on the African Diaspora, American Studies, critical race theory and popular culture. He worked at Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia prior to his career at Miami.

Gaskins received his B.A. at the University of Kentucky and his M.A. at Michigan State University. At the time of his death, he was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota.

One of his former students, senior Craig Byll, described Gaskins in a statement as a remarkable figure both in and out of the classroom.

"I can say he truly impacted my college career by altering the way I thought about learning," Byll said. "Dr. Gaskins taught me that the human condition is inextricably linked to the quest for knowledge, and that true compassion should be universally expressed."

Tammy Brown, an assistant professor in the Global and Intercultural Studies Department, wrote a statement about Gaskins.

"Adrian's excellence as a teacher, generosity of spirit and good humor will be sorely missed," Brown wrote. "He lived in the present moment and knew how to laugh."

Gaskins was a co-director of the Americans Abroad summer program in Paris and London. Brown said she admired Gaskins' commitment to taking students on these trips.

"He certainly lived his life in terms of taking on adventures and fostering citizens of the world, no matter how complex the planning," Brown wrote. "His commitment to internationalism/global studies permeated his pedagogy and real life."

Ron Becker, an associate professor in the Media, Journalism and Film Department, worked with Gaskins on a committee to propose a new co-major in the Global and Intercultural Studies Department.

"Right when we began the committee work in the fall, he was dealing with the death of his mother, and even though I'm sure that was a really tough time for him, he was always engaged fully," Becker said.

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Gaskins will be greatly missed by Miami students and faculty, he said.

"He was probably the most sweet and generous faculty member," Becker said. "Adrian's commitment to students at Miami was tremendous."