Joyce Boland-DeVito ‘81SVC
For St. John’s Alumna and Professor, Fulbright Sparks Global Insights
As a professor of business law at St. John’s University, Joyce Boland-DeVito ‘81SVC delights in teaching students from around the world. She is especially impressed by the way international students adapt to life in a new city and nation.
Prof. Boland-DeVito’s admiration for those students grew this past summer, when she was immersed in the life and culture of another country. Thanks to a Fulbright Specialist Grant, Prof. Boland-DeVito, who teaches in the College of Professional Studies (CPS), spent two weeks at the Law School of the National University of Ireland at Galway (NUI Galway).
Mentoring law students and learning the nuances of the Irish legal system, she experienced what it was like to be a newcomer to a foreign land. True, her hosts spoke English (though Gaelic also is spoken in Western Ireland), but there were enough differences to make those two weeks challenging.
“I’ve always appreciated the challenges my international students face,” said Prof. Boland-DeVito. “But it was eye-opening to experience some of them myself. My hosts were extraordinarily gracious, but at times I still found myself walking on the wrong side of the road, trying to figure out where to buy food and necessities.”
The experience also enhanced her global perspective on law and education. “On the one hand, you come to realize the similarities in our legal systems,” said Prof. Boland-DeVito. “Students mentioned cases I know well. But there were twists — for example, in Ireland, blasphemy is still listed as a legal offense.”
Prof. Boland-DeVito worked closely with Prof. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LL.M. in Public Law at NUI Galway. “I couldn’t have asked for a better Fulbright experience,” she said. “Marie is an internationally known author of media and communications law. I’ve used her research in the past. It was wonderful to meet and work with her, and everyone at Galway.”
The timing also was right for meeting other Irish notables — including Michael D. Higgins, the President-Elect; TV3. “I just happened to be there when they were on hand for the Council of the Bar (Ireland’s barristers’ organization),” Prof. Boland-DeVito explained.
Her Fulbright experience, said Prof. Boland-DeVito, was possible thanks to the support of Kathleen Vouté MacDonald, Ed.D., Dean of CPS, and Almerinda Forte, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Chair, Division of Administration and Economics. “They were very supportive—even convincing me that now was the time to apply for the grant,” said Prof. Boland-DeVito.
Prof. Boland-DeVito has been teaching at St. John’s for 25 years. Originally an adjunct, she left a position in corporate counsel to join the faculty full-time. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications at St. John’s, her M.B.A. at Hofstra University and her J.D. and LL.M. degrees at Fordham University.
She was an undergraduate at St. John’s when she met her husband, Vincent DeVito ‘82SVC. A Studio Producer at CBS Sports, he has won seven Emmy Awards.
Prof. Boland-DeVito values the opportunity to share her Fulbright experiences with her students. “It’s a privilege to teach at St. John’s,” she said. “I look forward to coming to work every day.