The tragic death of Nancy Forgione, a much-loved art history professor, comes at a time of year when many of us are looking to the end of a semester or to returning home, toward family and reunions. At this difficult time, we offer our condolences to Forgione's family, friends, colleagues and many devoted students. Her loss is a shocking blow to the entire Hopkins campus, reminding us once again, in the worst possible way, the necessity of coming together as a community.
Any students who have taken her undergraduate courses on European art know Forgione to be a passionate scholar and committed teacher, who struck a balance between engagement in the classroom and scholarly work. She was, of course, a wonderful academic, with critical work on the likes of Edouard Vuillard. In her popular "Introduction to the History of Art" course, she never shied away from expressing personal excitement about an abstract expressionist painting or a particularly beautiful print. She was a quiet instructor with the ability to inspire, and will be strongly missed for her dedication to helping individual students grasp the material, however obscure, in whatever way she could.
Forgione is also a shining example of someone who was intellectually nurtured by the University and returned to the campus to pay it back tenfold. She received her bachelor's and doctorate degrees at Hopkins, in humanistic studies and art history respectively, and her husband is also an alumnus. She was an indispensable part of the Hopkins community -- proof that the true success of an academic institution lies in the individuals who are fostered there. She was a symbol of the importance of Gilman Hall, of Hopkins humanities, of the infrequently visited collections of cultural rarities and other treasures that underline the humanistic face of the University.
At no other time is the Hopkins community more important than one of tragedy. We must support each other -- our fellow students and our professors -- in honoring the memory of an invaluable teacher and scholar, as much for her character and commitment to this very community as for her intellectual contributions. We are all lesser for her absence.