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MET’s James Cormier Dead at 65

Lecturer remembered for his dedication to students


James Cormier was “somebody who cared about the core mission of Metropolitan College and cared about his colleagues and his students,” says MET Dean Jay Halfond. He was “a born-again teacher.”

For James Cormier, joining Metropolitan College as a part-time faculty member in 1991 marked a turning point.

Cormier had been working in information technology, at jobs that required extensive international travel, says MET Dean Jay Halfond, and the idea of becoming part of an academic community appealed to him. As it turned out, he was well suited to his new career. Over the next two decades, he became known as a dedicated teacher, committed to the college, his fellow faculty members, and his students. In 1997, he was honored with the Metropolitan College Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year Award at MET’s graduation ceremonies.

Cormier (MET’85), who became a full-time senior lecturer in administrative sciences in 2004, died on October 13 after a brief illness. He was 65.

Halfond says the college has lost “somebody who cared about the core mission of Metropolitan College and cared about his colleagues and his students. And he really was a perennial student himself, because he was an expert in project management, a key area of instruction for us now. He was an all-around dedicated member of the academic community.”

Halfond says that Cormier was a highly engaged faculty member. “Whenever we held a social event with students, we could always count on him to be there. I think for him, this was a second career he always wanted to have.”

Cormier earned a BS in business administration as a part-time student at MET. In his faculty profile on the college’s website, he offered a recollection, and some words of advice to new students: “When I started, it looked as if the road to that degree was without an end. I can remember thinking as I entered my first class that ‘a journey of a thousand miles is started with a single step’ (Chinese proverb). Get that first step out of the way and we’ll do everything possible to see you make the shorter journey across the stage at Commencement to accept your degree.”

He went on to earn an MBA from Northeastern University. He spent more than 20 years working at Digital Equipment Corporation, starting as an engineering services supervisor and holding several senior-level positions at the company before joining IBM in 1995.

At MET, Cormier developed and taught a range of courses in marketing management, operations management and data analysis, advertising, electronic commerce, and management. He became a full-time faculty member in 2004.

“He was a born-again teacher, in a sense,” Halfond says. “He was dedicated to instruction here and in North Carolina, where we offer courses on several Marine bases. He would go down there and teach, mostly officers, and he loved it.”

Kip Becker, a MET associate professor and chair of administrative sciences, had known Cormier for nearly two decades. “He was an excellent instructor,” says Becker, who points to Cormier’s enthusiasm and his strong business background.

In his 1997 nomination of Cormier for the outstanding faculty member award, Becker wrote, “Jim has been a devoted instructor and has made considerable personal sacrifices to continue teaching throughout the past five years. The department has always been able to rely on him to evaluate other instructors, assist new instructors teaching similar courses, and provide the flexibility necessary to staff the department’s several locations. He has always presented the highest of standards, is a very effective teacher, and has a friendly manner, which makes students feel eager to participate in class discussions.”

Becker says he particularly appreciated Cormier’s flexibility. “You could always turn to him and say, ‘I need somebody to teach this class or go to this place,’” he recalls. “He’d make the sacrifices necessary to make things work. And personally, he was a great friend. His joy for being here was contagious.”

When Becker spoke with Cormier’s wife yesterday morning, she told him that “she wanted MET to know he valued his time here,” Becker says. “His goal was to be a teacher. He just felt it was the best job in the world. Being here made him the happiest he’d ever been.”

Cynthia K. Buccini can be reached at cbuccini@bu.edu.


11 Comments on MET’s James Cormier Dead at 65

  • Anonymous on 10.15.2010 at 12:43 pm

    What a loss...

    My deepest sympathy to his wife, family, and the MET faculty. I had him for AD 643 – Project Communication Mgt during Spring II ’10, and he was an excellent teacher. Anytime I think of “DOPCL” and “the change agent,” I will always remember him. What’s more, my dad also died October 13 (15 years ago). I was hoping to meet Professor Cormier during Commencement ’11. May he rest in peace.

  • Anonymous on 10.15.2010 at 3:35 pm

    R.I.P Professor Cormier

    Last month, we’d just had our first and would be only Project Management class with Professor Cormier. As I reflect on that Saturday, September 11, 2010, I recall how mild and patient he was in assisting me with my first in-class assignment… Yet sadly, we didn’t know, nor had a clue that we’d be hearing this awful news today.

    I pray for God’s strength, peace, and comfort for the Cormier family during this difficult time.

    With sympathy,

  • Paul Deutsch on 10.18.2010 at 2:34 pm

    Great Instructor

    Jim taught me Marketing at Camp Lejeune, NC, in 2004. I still remember how much fun he made learning. I have forgetten most of my MET instructors, but Jim is one I will always remember. God bless the Cormier family.

  • G J Kelley on 10.21.2010 at 10:33 am

    What a shock!

    I had Prof. Cormier in the Fall of 2009. He really did love what he was doing. It showed! I’m sorry to hear the news and extend my sincerest condolences to his family and to the BU family who knew and appreciated Jim’s dedication and personality.

  • Dess on 10.23.2010 at 5:32 pm


    Just had Jim last semester for marketing….. He really made the weekend classes enjoyable and always shared stories that seemed to relate with the topics we were learning. Condolences to the Cormier family, sorry for your loss, He will be missed. The Yanks still own The Red Sox jim….. god bless :-)

  • Anonymous on 11.23.2010 at 3:17 pm

    Great Instructor with very humble personality

    During my Study at Boston University for my MSPM; I was very lucky to take one course with him. I really enjoyed that course especially his way of teaching the material. Moreover, I was lucky to meet him personally last May for the graduation ceremony and all what I can say that he is a great man……

  • Anonymous on 11.24.2010 at 1:08 pm

    Price, Product, Promotion and Place. I will never forget the 4 p’s of marketing (taught by Professor Cormier). He was a Gentleman and a Scholar. We would often talk about the Southcoast because he lived in Wareham and I live in Fall River. Truly his death emphasizes that we should be thankful everyday for life..

    EDCP 08

  • Anonymous on 11.25.2010 at 12:04 am

    Prof. Cormier — God bless you and your family. You will be missed!

  • Jorge on 12.09.2010 at 10:59 pm

    Caring Professional

    I’m sorry to hear of Professor Cormier’s passing. He was the best professor I had while I attended classes with MET at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune. A challenging but caring professional. I frequently think of the lessons he taught me. He will be missed. My condolences to his family. RIP Professor.

  • Diana G. on 12.10.2010 at 7:12 pm

    You will be missed...

    My condolences the the friends and family of professor cormier. He was a great person and I am lucky to have had a course with him. May he rest in peace… my prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time…

  • Linda on 12.12.2010 at 8:22 pm

    Greatest Sadness

    BU has lost a great man and an awesome lectuer. Before class he would tell me about his sailing adventures and I would dream about taking up sailing lessons.

    So get this Jim I have taken up sailing and love it. I sail the Red Sea (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) and as a tribute and dedication to such a great man I will pull up my sail and head towards the Saudi sunset with prayers wonderful thoughts of you. RIP my friend!


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