How many lives have been saved by Jack McDevitt’s work? How much suffering has been alleviated? McDevitt, a professor of the practice in criminology and criminal justice as well as director of Northeastern’s Institute on Race and Justice, is retiring after 45 years of research and mediation that have resulted in meaningful change throughout the United States as well as in the communities within and around the Boston campus.
“It is always in the back of my mind,” says Lisa Laguerre, the institute’s associate director of community relations, who has known McDevitt since she was a freshman in his 1990 “Introduction to Criminal Justice” class. “He’s created such a legacy that when you ask me, ‘What will it be like without him?’ I can’t wrap my mind around that.”
McDevitt has made a difference by taking on several of the most contentious issues in American life. In the early stage of his career, he researched and helped define hate crimes at a time when the classification was not widely known. That work led him to study and advise police departments. From there he found himself in the middle of the gun control debate.