Published January 10, 2022
Patrick F. McDevitt, associate professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences, has been named academic director of the University Honors College.
He will begin in his new role this month.
“Dr. McDevitt will lead the Honors College team as they work to build upon the 40-year history of the University Honors College in providing a transformative, inclusive and innovative education for our Honors Scholars and developing lifetime connections with our thousands of alumni worldwide,” says Ann Bisantz, dean of undergraduate education.
“I look forward to welcoming Dr. McDevitt to the Honors College.”
A UB faculty member since 2001, McDevitt is a historian of Ireland, Great Britain and the British Empire with research interests in gender and sexuality, imperialism and colonialism, food and famine, sports, and fashion.
He is author of “May the Best Man Win: Sport, Masculinity and Nationalism in Great Britain and the Empire, 1880-1935” and the forthcoming book “The Great Irish Famine: A Global History.”
McDevitt was an Honors Faculty Fellow from 2015-17 and currently serves as program adviser for the Fulbright awards, working with UB students competing for the prestigious grants to research, study or teach English around the world.
As one of the nation’s first honors programs, the University Honors College offers talented UB students rigorous coursework — both in and out of their majors — while using the resources of a large research university to provide a small-college experience. It includes nearly 1,400 UB students.
“I see the job of the academic director as focused on a few key, overlapping and mutually reinforcing areas: building diversity, extending outreach, expanding development and innovating curriculum,” McDevitt says.
His first priority is to continue to expand the diversity of the students, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity, majors, geography and economic background.
At the same time, he wants to reach out to current and prospective students, as well as alumni and the UB community at large.
Continued development of the curriculum also will be at the forefront of McDevitt’s charge.
“The Honors College has always been an incubator for innovation, and our curriculum is one aspect of that,” he says. “Creating more opportunities through academics to showcase achievements and discoveries supports an enhanced student experience.”
A native of Emerson, N.J., McDevitt earned a bachelor’s degree in history from New York University, where he graduated magna cum laude. While there, he had the experience of taking part in a scholars program.
“The programming encouraged me to tread far from my comfort zones and question many certainties I possessed when I first arrived,” he says. “Learning, talking and traveling with my fellow scholars inspired me — a teen from a very small school in a very small town — to stretch myself in new and profound ways.”
McDevitt won a Fulbright to New Zealand and earned a First-Class Honours Degree from the University of Canterbury. He returned to New Jersey to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in European history at Rutgers University. He was an assistant professor of history at Rowan University before coming to UB.
While at UB, McDevitt has served in a wide range of roles. That has included leading the Phi Beta Kappa and Fulbright programs, serving on the Faculty Senate and being director of graduate studies in the history department.
For much of his two decades at UB, McDevitt has been involved in the Honors College, whether teaching honors students, helping select winners of the Presidential Scholarship or recruiting potential Fulbright Scholars.
“In short,” he says, “the Honors College is my favorite part of UB.”