Kim Hinton, an academic adviser for the Departments of Gender Studies, Classical Studies and Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance, died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism Feb. 26. She was 47.
Hinton received a master’s degree in Russian literature and a Ph.D. in theater history, theory and literature from IU. She started her academic advising career in 2007 in the Departments of Anthropology and East Asian Languages and Cultures. Hinton switched departments in 2011.
Hinton rarely advised individual students more than a few times a year, yet several students said they felt at home as soon as they walked into her office.
“Every interaction was personal to us, but she was probably like that with, like, a million people,” junior Megan Kudla said.
Senior Amanda Hoover, a double major in contemporary dance and cinema and media arts, said she would not graduate on time without Hinton’s help.
“You could suggest the craziest things, and she would find some way to make it all work,” she said. “She was like a miracle worker.”
Although academic advisers often take the role of an emotional supporter for students, Hinton’s students generally carried an extra layer of stress.
As a contemporary dance student, sophomore Chelsea Kummeth spends most days running from classes to rehearsals that usually last several hours. She said Hinton always provided stress relief.
“She was always there if I needed to rant,” she said. “She could always tell when I was stressed just by looking at me.”
Kummeth said she was planning on visiting Hinton in her office Tuesday.
Elizabeth Shea, director of contemporary dance, has an office right next to Hinton and saw her nearly every day. She said Hinton always came into work with a positive attitude.
“She saw countless students day in and day out, and I never heard her say one mean thing,” she said. “Not one negative, nasty thing, ever.”
Suzanne Hinton, Kim’s mother, said Kim enjoyed guiding students who were passionate about their career paths. But Kim had her own interests, too.
Ever since she was a child, Kim loved theater, her mother said. She would put on plays for her family when she was young and later starred in several high school performances.
While studying at IU, Hinton wrote a dissertation on the representations of sideshow freaks in modern British and American musicals and plays.
“It all came back to theater,” her mother said.
As part of her dissertation, Hinton interviewed actor Mat Fraser, who starred in the show "American Horror Story." She wrote about how Fraser, who was born with a disability affecting his arms, and other actors with disabilities are portrayed in pop culture.
Suzanne said she was considering making the dissertation into a book.
Hinton’s partner since 1995, Steve Jarosz, said he enjoyed constantly learning from her about music and pop culture.
Jarosz and Hinton met while they were graduate students at IU studying Slavic languages. They did not plan on staying in Bloomington after finishing their studies, he said, but the two lived in town together for about 20 years.
“Our lives just kind of got tied up in Bloomington,” he said. “It just became our home.”
Jarosz said Hinton was determined to help her students and the university. IU had a special place in their relationship, he said.
Hinton is survived by her parents Suzanne and Keith, her brothers Erik and Joshua and nephew Xavi.
A gathering to celebrate Hinton’s life, which will be open to the public, is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 4155 S. Old State Road 37 in Bloomington.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Hinton's work history. She started her academic advising career in 2007 in the departments of Anthropology and East Asian Languages and Cultures. The IDS regrets this error.
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