Joyner, GU Mainstay, Dies at 63
Published: Sunday, September 11, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011 20:09
Christopher Joyner, professor, director and co-founder of Georgetown's Institute for International Law and Politics, died Saturday evening at the Virginia Hospital Center from complications following abdominal surgery. He was 63 years old.
Joyner, who had been registered to teach an undergraduate course in international law this fall, stepped down from teaching last week.
Ever popular amongst the student body, many spoke to his dedication to his students in and out of the classroom.
"If you needed advice, he was always open and willing. … He was amazing," Samantha Baker (COL '12) said.
According to first-year graduate student Matt Despres, Joyner will be sorely missed by the campus community.
"He really helped put Georgetown on the map for international law issues," Despres said. "It's a really big loss for the field and the university … especially as he taught both graduate students and undergraduates."
In an opening letter to School of Foreign Service students, SFS Dean Carol Lancaster wrote of the department's loss. "I know many of you had enjoyed Professor Joyner's classes and his friendship both in class and on the athletic field. Please know that we are here to comfort you and provide support."
A memorial service will be held in his honor in the Copley Formal Lounge on Friday, September 16 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Anthony Arend, director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service and co-founder of the Institute for International Law and Politics with Joyner, wrote a blog post in memory of his friend and colleague on Saturday.
"Chris was a world-renowned scholar of international law, a dear friend and mentor to me and so many and a true son of Georgetown. He will be greatly missed."
Joyner, a top expert in international law and Antarctica, previously taught at The George Washington University, the University of Virginia, Dartmouth College and Muhlenberg College. He has served as the vice president of the International Studies Association, vice chair of the American Council on the United Nations and four-time chair of the International Law Section of the International Studies Association.
Joyner oversaw the Master's Degree in International Law and Politics in the Government Department while teaching International Law classes for undergraduates and graduates alike.
Outside the classroom, Joyner was a devoted supporter of the student athletics on campus — especially women's soccer. Known for offering extra credit points to students in his classes for their attendance at the games, Joyner would also frequently commend the players individually on their performance according to Baker, a senior forward for the team. After taking Joyner's class freshman year, Baker spoke to his constant presence in her life.
"He came to every game. Besides soccer and school, he was always there. … He was involved with the girls of our team and helping them achieve what they wanted on and off the soccer field."
Joyner is survived by his wife Nancy, and his children, Kristin and Clayton.