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John Jay Mourns the Loss of Jock Young, Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice and Sociology

Statement of President Jeremy Travis

We pause today to mourn the loss of one of the intellectual giants of the international community of scholars of criminology, our Distinguished Professor Jock Young.  It is impossible to overstate the influence of Jock Young.  He has been a fearless intellectual, always willing to challenge conventional wisdom and to push the boundaries of the discipline known as criminology.  Four decades ago he staked out his claim as an important and distinctive voice in our field with the publication in 1973 of his ground-breaking work, The New Criminology.  His scholarly contributions continued over the intervening years, culminating in his classic trilogy – The Exclusive Society (1999), the Vertigo of Late Modernity (2007) and most recently, The Criminological Imagination.  These books have been translated into eleven languages in fifteen countries, a tribute to Jock’s truly global influence.  The impact of his life’s work is enormous.  Not many scholars can be said to have built a field of scholarship, but of Jock Young we can say with confidence that his work has contributed to the field of critical criminology which today exerts enormous influence on both scholarship and practice.  For these reasons and more, Jock Young was recognized by the British Society of Criminology which bestowed on him in 2012 its highest honor, the Outstanding Achievement Award.

Here at John Jay College we know Jock Young in a different way.  Jock was a generous colleague who helped John Jay to build a doctoral program of international reputation.  As one of the first Distinguished Professors at John Jay College, he helped us set the highest goals for the scholarly contributions of our faculty in criminology and sociology, many of whom came to John Jay in part to work with Jock.  Dozens of our professors and countless graduate students can trace their own intellectual growth to the moments when Jock would challenge their thinking, point them in the direction of new scholarship, and gently encourage them to think bigger and harder.  He was a gentle presence on our campus, with a twinkle in his eye and a genuine appreciation of the vitality of this community of scholars.

We extend to Jayne Mooney, Jock’s widow and our colleague, our deepest sympathies.  We include in our thoughts Jock’s children and extended family.  At the upcoming conference of the American Society of Criminology, we will note his passing with sadness and encourage Jock’s many friends, colleagues and students to share their thoughts about this gentle intellectual giant.