More memories of Prof. Devlin

Additional messages came in over the weekend from alumni who wish to express their condolences to the friends and family of Professor James Devlin, and to share memories of having him as a teacher and a friend.

  • I feel so sad; what a loss for everyone. Professor Devlin was so inspiring and one of my favorite professors at BU. He will be missed.
    Jennifer Bernier, COM ’95
  • I am deeply dismayed and shocked to hear of Dr Devlin’s passing. He and I have lost touch in recent years, but I cannot express my sadness at this news. My condolences to you; I knew you to be very close. I currently reside in London, and will be unable to attend the wake or funeral, but would be grateful if you would pass along the below sentiments to his loved ones.
    Nicole Lanoue, CAS ’97
  • Professor Devlin was my first academic hero. Before that I only loved rock stars and film stars. He could take The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai, a flop of a film, and show its brilliance. Equally, he could take Pulp Fiction, a mega-hit, and demonstrate its faux subversiveness and predictable irony. He was a brilliant speaker and thinker, and in an age of professors devoted mainly to research, it was a boon for all of us to get to take classes with someone so devoted to the art of teaching. My condolences both to his family and to the future BU students who will miss out on this pedagogical whirlwind.
    Anthony Cristofani, CAS ’97
  • I was very sad to hear about the untimely death of James Devlin. I’ll never forget his galvanizing presence and his extraordinary lecturing style. He could wake up the students like no one else. It is hard to belief that such a warm, vital and vivid individual is no longer with us. Everyone who knew him, even only slightly, as I did, will remember him fondly.
    Charles Lindholm, Department of Anthropology
  • This is so upsetting and my heart goes out to his family. Professor Devlin was so inspirational, challenging and passionate as a leader in Core. I enjoyed learning from him and Core has lost an amazing person. I fondly look back at my Core experience and clearly remember his lectures in Tsai in those early mornings! I’m sorry that future Core students will miss learning from such a great professor, and I’m sorry for the family’s loss.
    Joan Rajfer (née Kisthardt), CAS ’02
  • In the “good olde days” when CC101 and CC102 first began, we had two lectures a week, each a full 80 minutes long. Brian Jorgensen was our band leader and Jim Devlin our lead saxophonist. Every two or three weeks he would mount the stage to play his part. If any of us enthralled the students, it was Jim. He had a booming spirit, he was quirky, smart, playful, and challenging. At the podium, there was always a Jim-riff mixed in the mix. No one knew exactly when to expect the Jim-riff or how he might get back to the point at hand but were these moments ever spirited and fun. In large measure because of Jim, the Core had a special place in the intellectual life of the CAS community. Thank you, Jim, for those memories and your gifts to Core.
    Stephen Scully, Department of Classics
  • Dr. Devlin was one of the highlights of the Core. It wasn’t enough to go to a weekly lecture with him. We would talk about him often outside of class and about how he changed our view of the world through his engaging lectures and creative style. He will be missed.
    Christopher Pike, CAS ’02
  • I am greatly saddened to hear of Prof. Devlin’s untimely passing. It’s been exactly twenty years since I was first electrified by Prof. Devlin’s lectures about the Bible, Plato and others. He was a riveting and charismatic teacher. I have gone on to get two Master’s degrees and with rare exceptions, there are few lectures over the many I have attended that I can still recall. Devlin’s lectures about the Bible, in particular, are among those few. He will be missed.
    — Jonathan Crow, CAS ’94
  • I am greatly saddened to hear this and extend my deepest sympathies to the family. Prof. Devlin led my freshman Core humanities lecture and I have to say that those three hours every week were the most exciting, crazy, and intellectually stimulating experience that I had in my years at BU. With Prof. Devlin, we never knew what to expect or where our discussions would lead. As freshman science geek, his classes were a welcome break from the rigidness of my chem and bio courses. Prof. Devlin taught me how to think, how to really grab hold of an idea and just tear it apart. As I look back on my college years now, I fully appreciate just how much his enthusiasm and zest for engaging his students has mattered to me over the years. He was truly one of the most memorable people I have ever met in my life.
    Liz Pinkey, CAS ’95

One Comment

Emily Sartini, CAS '99 posted on December 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I loved the Core (’95-97) and loved Prof. Devlin’s lectures. His were lectures not to be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

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