Remembering Bob Devine
Antioch College mourns the loss of former president and longtime member of the faculty, Bob Devine ’67.
Read his obituary, submitted by Bob’s family.
The memorial for Robert H. Devine will take place outdoors on Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 2:00 PM on the Antioch College Horseshoe in front of Main Building, under a tent. Organizers request that all in-person attendees be masked and fully vaccinated. The memorial will also be live streamed on this page.
A Virtual Memorial is also scheduled for Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 3:00 PM allowing those at a distance to participate. Details about virtual attendance will be made available through the College’s website and on Facebook.
Submit remembrances to post on this page to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, “Remembering Bob Devine.” Selections may be published in an upcoming issue of The Antiochian magazine as well.
Remembrances from the Antiochian community
So sorry to read this! He was a wonderful person!
–Cynthia Davis ’63
I remember that when he first came to campus he always wore a coat and tie – until one day a young woman student approached him and said “Mr. Devine, you gotta lose the tie!” I think he did.
–Gary Houseknecht ’66
Bob was a close friend at Antioch. We lived in married student housing in units facing each other. I loved the root beer runs to Fairborn . The ride was always memorable. Spent many evenings listening to music or talking philosophy. We played baseball on the no holds barred married students intra mural team. We were vicious and victorious. Bob had great hands. And great hands in everything he did. I had hoped to catch up with him in Yellow Springs this year but not to be.
–John Blethen ’67
I have known Bob since the mid 1960s. We were students together. Then as alums, faculty and president of the College. His heroic efforts helped save the College, but more important, he taught and mentored at least two generations of critical thinkers and activists. Every one of his devoted students is one of his victories for humanity. My thoughts are with Callie, another extraordinary Antiochian, and to his family. His memory is a blessing to not just Antioch but to all of humanity.
–Barbara Slaner Winslow ’68
How sad to hear this news.
–Gerry Furth ’70
I got to Antioch as an APIE recruit in 65. Got a Co-op with Bob, Steve Perry, Flo Lorenze in ’66 in the video dept. Heaven for a ghetto kid with no direction. BOB is paramount in my mind for patience, acceptance, brains, world view, truth, laugh, and daily smile. I guess I have lived longer than Bob but I would trade. RIP Old long lived Man. I feel what you feel. Peace
–Jesse James ’70
In the late ’60s, I was floundering while trying to figure out how to actually graduate from Antioch on time. Bob guided me through the process of pulling together my academic credits and various experiences to craft a degree in Communications, which didn’t really exist at the time. (He agreed that singing in a rock band—Ed Chicken And The French Fries—for a quarter could be construed as an in-depth independent study of American blues music. Magic!)
I loved working with Bob, and learned a lot about A/V, which served me well in my various careers. He was very bright and empathetic, and had a wry sense of humor that was never far from the surface. The world was a better place with him in it.
My sincere condolences to his loved ones.
–John Draper ’71
Sad news. Bob was a giant among giants in the old Antioch and never quit or shirked the work of rebuilding.
–Tim Klass ’71
It was Bob Devine who taught me how to weave video into a story 55 years ago. That was no small trick in the days of half-inch black and white tape! You had to pick an edit point on the playback reel and the master tape, backtime them both, then roll the two machines and go into record manually.
One of my favorite memories from my time working a Co-op job in the Antioch video department was when Bob, Ed White and I carted two bulky, balky half-inch tape machines to Moosonee, Ontario, to shoot a documentary. It was during that edit that I learned from Bob that not just the finished master, but every shot, is a story with a precise beginning, a unifying middle and a perfect end.
–Bonnie Taylor ’71
Bob Devine was unquestionably the best teacher / professor I had in my 20 years of education. He was never “just a chapter ahead of his students” in the textbook because there was no textbook in the classes I took under him. Instead, he tapped current events to force critical thinking. For example, he made us confront the implication of facial recognition software and the government’s potential use of it back in the early 1970s. It took the NY Times almost forty years to catch up with him. Unfortunately, all that he saw so clearly—and revealed to his critically-minded students—is now thoroughly entrenched.
Antioch was a richer place because of Bob’s smart and soulful presence. May he RIP.
Anne Marie Garti ’72
So sorry to hear that Antioch—and all of us—have lost Bob Divine. Mostly I remember a video he did that may have been titled ‘Winter Wheat”—the music may have been a track by Dory Previn… I hope that it has not been lost. One of the most empowering gifts I received was learning to make videos (via Ladies Home Journal?) and editing them on what probably was old Panasonic equipment. A great man, he will be much missed.
Noël Dorsey Vernon ’72
One of the things I am most grateful for is meeting my (future) wife in Bob and Steve’s Video 1, 2 and 3 classes. As he said, “One is unity, two is duality, three is everything else.” That is his gift to us…everything else.
Robert Fishbone ’74
Reading about the passing of Bob Devine makes me very sad. I sincere extend my deepest sympathy to his family.
I attended several colleges before finding Antioch, and I spent two years there and graduated in 1976. Out of all those schools and graduate school, Bob Devine was the most significant educational influence for me. He saw something in me that I didn’t see myself, and gave me responsibilities that boosted my confidence and abilities. He was always encouraging and positive, and never condescending. He was a pioneer in the new technology that was emerging at the time, and brilliant at teaching us about it.
I was fortunate to be his student, and will always remember him with the deepest gratitude and respect.
–Eve R. Pines ’74
Bob Devine changed my life. He was an indescribably generous and supportive professor. During my first year at Antioch, I worked on a “Sexism in Saturday Morning Children’s Cartoons” project for a sociology class taught by Marg Nelson. This involved recording and editing Saturday morning cartoons. Bob personally opened the video lab for me early on Saturday mornings and taught me how to record broadcast television. He taught me how to edit (then state-of-the-art) now primitive ½ inch black and white reel to reel video. I wasn’t even his student. Eventually I became a Communications major. I treasure everything I learned in his classes. Especially his approach to community media and valuing grassroots voices. I became a photographer and photography professor and tried to emulate his never-ending support for students in my teaching.
–Gail Rebhan ’75
What sad news to hear of Bob’s passing.
Bob played an important role in my life’s path, along with Antioch as a whole. When I arrived at Antioch in 1971, just 10 days after graduating high school, I had no idea what field to pursue. Then I took a few classes from Bob and realized the importance of communications in bettering our world. His easy going style convinced me to select him as my faculty advisor, a roll where he proved to be a superior coach.
After over 4 decades of international work developing communication networks around the world, I know that Bob steered me right. His influence was a major benefit for so many of us, and a big piece of the Antioch experience. Thank you Bob.
–Joel Hariton ’76
It is hard to incapsulate the breadth of Bob’s impact on so many of us. Perhaps it is best captured with Process and Effects of Mass Communication, a class that was about art and culture, discovery, understanding complexity, critical thinking, and considering the many paths to solving any particular problem; it provided so many life skills, one might say Bob’s intellectual DNA is spread (consciously and unconsciously) among us, our families, and beyond.
Then there was his empathy, love of music, wonderful family, and Callie, who was his Philosopher’s Stone through so many health and work challenges, not least his stepping in to help lead Antioch out of diverse crises and his struggle against the dealtheaters that sought to destroy the college.
This sure makes us agnostics hope there is a cosmic paradise where our souls mingle and catch up.
–Steve Spector ’76
Oh this is very sad news.
–Roxanne Rogers ’78
My older brother Larry Weiner and I attended Antioch and studied with Bob. I fondly remember his kindness and intellect. I recall his melodic voice and grin and how he always illuminated a conversation. He was a mentor to me. And a friend to my brother. His impact changed the course of our lives. Deepest condolences.
—Sara Rothholz Weiner ’79
It was 1979, maybe ’80. Cable TV had taken hold, and we all thought it was the greatest thing ever. Bob told us that this was just the camel’s nose, the tip of the iceberg; that the insidious goal of wiring people up was not to provide entertainment to you, but to get information from you.
I thought he was being paranoid. Yet, here we are.
–Eric Block ’80
I think of Bob Devine often, mostly calling to mind his positive energy and caring commitment to his students, but also his rigorous scholarship. His influence on me was life changing. He opened doors of creative possibilities (one of our first exercises, to re-imagine and re-edit a well-known documentary was a revelation); of ways of understanding the structures of media organizations, and of personal expression. His self-reflective “Elavil, Ohio” so far ahead of its time remains an inspiration. His mentorship and friendship to me and so many will reverberate for generations
–Dan Lang ’80
I graduated from Antioch in 1982. I still have treasures from my days there, intaglio prints, photos of me as a young man with long hair and beard, a great horned owl feather found on a full moon night in the Glen, and a written evaluation from Bob. I saved it because Bob saw me clear as day, my gifts and my challenges. He applauded my uniqueness, invited me to be an eternal student, and to both create and live courageously. Thank you Bob, for your eyes and your heart, for your years of visionary service. You broadened my perspective, deepened my understanding, and inspired me in ways that continue to buoy my courage in turbulent waters. Mahalo Bob.
–Kabba Anand ’82 (was Daniel Rosenberg at Antioch)
So sorry to hear about the death of Bob Devine.
That first day in class as a freshman was like nothing I had experienced before. Bob was such a dynamic, enthusiastic presence. Bob was a wonderful professor and generous with his time. I remember Bob driving me out to a local garbage dump where I was going to shoot some footage for a project, obviously I had no car. I had spoken to the manager of the dump on the phone and had secured permission to shoot there, although Bob was, I think, skeptical it would happen. Sure enough when we arrived, the person at gate was leery of our intentions and refused us entry. Driving back we talked of various things and Bob shared anecdotes of students from days past and why Antioch students wouldn’t necessarily be welcomed with open arms at some places.
My sincere condolences to Callie Carey-Devine and the rest of his family.
Cheers, to Bob Devine, a wonderful human, who has impacted so many lives.
Rich Katz ’84
Sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. With the stories of how Bob impacted the lives of fellow Antiochians, it’s evident he lived by the famous Horace Mann quote about Winning Victories For Humanity. He embodied that mantra. Sad news.
–Stacy Horowitz ’91
Only a week or so ago, I heard the sad news that my former academic advisor Bob Devine has passed away. I feel compelled to share some thoughts with the college community. And how much his support meant to accomplishing my dream.
My condolences to all of you in the community and especially to his family.
I got my degree in 1992 from Antioch College School of Communication and Media Arts and I did a self-designed major in Journalism. However I took a lot of Bob’s courses on communication theory.
I was a foreign student, however I came to the campus with the determination to become a journalist in national television. Yea right, was the initial reaction from Bob. Naturally he was very skeptical but he eventually came around to supporting my endeavors.
He warned me getting an opportunity those days to be a journalist at TV networks (there were only 4) was one of the most difficult things, if not the most difficult career choice in the US. And he was not sure if anyone from Antioch had ever succeeded.
Well that gave me more fire in my belly and I wondered: could I be the first in Antioch history? Also it would be the first time for a foreign student, he quipped. I was excited and terrified at the same time with the challenge.
After I had managed to land and successfully complete couple of co-ops with well known regional and national news organizations on east and west coasts, Bob came around and started supporting me wholeheartedly.
But before that he did try to persuade me why I ought to have considered going into public access television. He was a renowned authority on it having launched several public access stations across the US. He even told me he could help me get a job in that field. But he couldn’t help me in network television; he told me he’d give all the support I needed though.
At the same time, I was very naive, to say the least, to aim for something so lofty. Now I know looking back.
Fast forward, after finishing my degree, I had moved to Washington DC. After couple hundred rejection letters from all 4 national TV news networks (ABC News, CBS News, NBC News and CNN), finally I got an opportunity of a lifetime to be Producer at CNN in Washington DC. Naturally I was on cloud 9 for accomplishing my dream.
It was in the later half of 1990s and the Internet was starting to become more mainstream. Yahoo was the first major web portal but there was no news source on the web. So CNN had launched CNN.com which was the first news website tied to a traditional news organization. Very few of us, the journalists at CNN TV would pay attention to CNN.com.
As CNN Producer, I was deeply focused on reporting big stories for TV. Learning process was extremely steep, especially supervising TV camera and sound crew in the field, staying in touch with the assignment desk in DC and often Atlanta. I was learning to tell stories with video, sound and script and under extremely fast-moving deadline. But I was enjoying every single aspect of it even though I often had felt overwhelmed.
It turned out CNN.com, which was the first News website, started putting my select TV news stories on CNN.com. Reading news on CNN.com was a novel concept and I didn’t make much of it until a friend alerted me to story with my byline on CNN.com.
Around that time, I had managed to reconnect with Bob through email. And I told him I became not only a Network TV journalist and producer, I also accidentally became Internet journalist, if there was any such thing. But he was so happy and proud.
Now looking back, I realize Bob’s encouragement and non-stop support meant so much more to a foreign student who was still learning English.
I felt Bob was unique in a way that he’d challenge you and raise the bar. If you succeed, he’d back you up all the way. Quite a mark of leadership!
About 12 years ago, I was on campus on my way somewhere. But Bob was out of town so we couldn’t connect. We exchanged emails weeks later and he asked me what my next dream was.
After hearing the news of his passing, now I regret I didn’t contact him sooner. CNN was my first network TV job that he knew. I wish I could’ve told him now that same foreign student who dreamed of working at one American television network, now has been Producer at 4 on 2 Coasts.
Thank you, Bob. You made a difference.
P.S. I’d love to hear from other students who studied with Bob or others I knew as friends or any faculty members I studied with. You can reach me through my professional website: NEWSmaker1.com
—Dave (Debasish) Adhicary ’92
When I was in my second year of college, I was chatting around the kitchen table about classes to take with Kirsten Ervin. She said: “You have to take a class with Bob Devine. He is— hands down— the best professor in this college.” Antioch students, without grades and competitive sports and hierarchy, are usually loathe to make such pronouncements, so I sat up and took notice. I enrolled in one of his classes, Media Criticism. I had no particular interest in media— like most activist students, I knew that capitalist media was part of “the problem,” but that’s about it.
During the course of his class, we learned all sorts of deeper critiques of media in society— from a feminist lens, structural ownership issues, content analysis, objectivity/subjectivity and so on. Each week, he gave us pieces of writing, music, videos to write critiques of, using the various analyses we had learned. I remember I watched Madonna’s “ Express Yourself” video so many times, that I learned the words and started to play my own version on guitar.
His classes were always overbooked, there must have been fifty students- roughly 3 or 4 times your average Antioch class in those years. But the thing that really struck me:
Every week, we had to do an essay using our newest analysis that we had covered in class. It was 2-4 pages. When Bob returned our assignments, he had in handwriting numbered various sentences on our pages, and, point by point, he had given every one of the students 4 to 5 typed pages in responses the points we had made. He was sometimes insightful, sometimes sharply critical, sometimes made our points better than we had made them, sometimes encouraging, sometimes witty. No one has ever engaged my writing like that, before or since. All you teachers out there can imagine what it would take to do that!
Now I know that this was a little bit of a parlor trick. I’m sure lots of college students make the same handful of points, and he was a master of personalized cutting and pasting. However, even so, it must have taken him days to do this every week. He had figured out what was the best possible thing he could do with the new medium of word processing, when most professors were still writing the occasional “Good Point” in blue ink on the margin of the paper. He was by far the hardest working professor I ever met. Being in his class really made me up my game, and work hard to improve my writing and analysis— and take the material as seriously as he was taking the development of my intellect.
At the time, I had decided that I wanted to go into solar energy, and that ended up being my major. I did this at precisely the wrong time— tried to get into the field right after the US won the first Gulf War and had as much cheap oil as it wanted. So when the pirate radio movement arose, I found my main life’s work, in the reform of radio and media. There hasn’t been a day that went by that I haven’t used the ideas that I learned in Bob’s two classes. Antioch does not have a lot of CEOs of corporations, or very many Nobel prize winners… but we are dramatically over-represented in the leadership of community media around the USA. Bob Devine had a lot to do with that.
Bob was also one of the only Antioch college presidents who was not totally weirded out by the students…he could engage us respectfully, point out generously when we weren’t making much sense, and take our concerns seriously. Most presidents, having gone to normal colleges, understandably could not quite make sense of the things that Antioch students care about. Having been an Antioch student, during a tumultuous time in the sixties, we all seemed perfectly natural to Bob. With his insatiable intellectual curiosity, he remained able to engage the new issues as students raised them. I am so glad to learn that in the last years he was finally brought back as professor emeritus. Bob was a real treasure, he represented a lot of the best of what Antioch can be.
–Pete Tridish ’92
I am heart broken & shocked to hear this. I took classes with him that were truly mind expanding—we had such wonderful discussions about a new phenomenon—cable television (something I never heard of until his class)—and its possible 1984-type impact if it were not thoughtfully implemented. He let us “play” all night long in the TV studio experimenting with video feedback and more. I also got to know him more personally when I worked for him as a video tape editor in my financial aid work/study job for a couple of quarters after my father died.
We have been FB friends, and I was thrilled to have that continuing relationship with him. I am shattered by this news & want to send all my best wishes to his family. So sad.
–Elizabeth Pond-McPherson ’85
Such a loss…Bob was president the entire time I was at Antioch and one of my intellectual mentors. I will always remember him teaching me the concept of “hegemony” in our Media Studies class when I was 19. For the past 15 years as a university instructor, everytime I teach “hegemony” I find myself drawing the same hungry circle of power… Your legacy lives long after you.
Rest in Peace, Bob.
Shayna Plaut ’00
I have the utmost respect for Bob Devine, but I can guarantee you that I didn’t want to give it to him initially. Initially, I thought he was the absolute worst of the ivory tower.
The first one-on-one interaction I had with Bob was argumentative and left me disillusioned with higher education. In a class with damn near 40 students, Bob told me that skateboarding has no cultural/social significance. In his words: there was no skateboarding culture.
I had been skating for 6 years and was 18. I am now 44 and have been skating for 32 years. Bob didn’t teach math, so don’t judge me if those numbers are off.
Intro to Communications, 1995, some cold Antioch building on a January morning. I stepped into my first media class. I had raised my freshman hand to make a note of “how skateboarding unites young people from really diverse backgrounds in a public space.” Bob hit me with the “there is no skateboarding culture.” Meanwhile, the half drunk punk said he plays shows in the woods and everyone parties, so his shit is cultural. Bob agreed. I really wasn’t following the logic.
I spent his next day’s office hours calling bullshit, loudly. I’m sure he was both amused and frustrated with me. As were the people waiting in the hall.
Years later, having taken time off I find myself back at Antioch and in one of his media classes my senior year. I really fell into that world at Antioch because of an elective with Christine Hill and was on a full media literacy trip. So I took a class with Bob again. On the first day of that class, Bob made a point to take me aside and tell me he was wrong. I’m not saying I was right, I am saying it was amazing that this man remembered the argument and wanted to address how it ended. That’s fucking amazing. I can’t recall the specifics, but it meant the world. It was an authority figure making a point to correct a perceived wrong. It made me feel respected. As I have evolved to have more authority, I remember this lesson.
Arguments with professors, teachers, or coaches are a cornerstone of developing the skills of defending your beliefs and use of authority. Authority being the key issue here. He taught me to wield it lightly and honestly.
Correlation does not alway equal causation, however there is direct correlation between Bob’s honesty and my unwillingness to die without having won a victory for humanity.
Rest easy, Bob.
Alexander McBride Protzman ’01
Bob Devine profoundly impacted generations of Antiochians by living the values of shared governance through his teaching, community organizing and as president of the college. Almost anyone who knew Bob has a story of how he made them feel important and necessary to Antioch’s growth and success. I am forever indebted to the mentorship he provided me as a student and Antioch community manager, and the tools he shared are ones I use daily in my life. May we reflect on the ways Bob impacted our lives and work to create a world that is liberating and full of joy.
–Shelby Chestnut ’05
Bob was the first administrator I met at Antioch, and one of the first classes I took was with him, Leadership Strategies. From that point on, I took every one of his classes offered. It is fitting, as it was a post in a forum board by Bob that enticed me to visit the campus and instantly fall in love with the setting and the ideology of Antioch.
Bob’s Media and Social Change course made me change and refine my major. He taught with compassion for his subjects and students. Everything centered around making people the heart and focus of change. Bob was an immense agent of change and a center point of my Antioch education. After experiencing many other campuses and their administrations in my studies, no one has yet to meet the bar he set in approachability and that he kept everyone on the same level. He was a great leader and I was so spoiled to have experienced his leadership while at Antioch.
–Maurya K. Orr ’04
I had the privilege of sitting on ADCIL for two years as a union employee and I don’t think I have ever been more impressed with another human being in my life.
Bob treated me well and welcomed my opinion, but what really impressed me was the amount of knowledge he had on any subject including things you wouldn’t believe a College President would have a clue about. I’m talking about electric, architecture, steam boilers, and you name it, there didn’t seem to be anything he couldn’t talk about knowledgeably. I’m sorry I never told him how I felt, maybe somehow, he knew.
–David McManamay, former staff
I’m very saddened to hear of the passing of Robert “Bob” Devine, and send my heartfelt condolences to his wife Callie and family. Bob was an incredible person, with a wry sense of humor and quick wit. He had an amazing wealth of knowledge and an impressive ability to convey concepts in the most illuminating ways. His magnetic presence in the classroom was unparalleled, and to this day I am honored and thankful for the opportunity he gave me to teach. I’m so glad he graced us with his good cheer, intelligence and humanitarian spirit. Bob will be missed. May he rest in eternal peace.
–Edward Scott Jr, former faculty