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ODU Sociology Professor Lee Bouvier Dies

Lee Bouvier, a longtime adjunct faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, died Wednesday, Jan. 26, at the age of 88. Bouvier, of Norfolk, led a colorful life that included work as a jazz musician, professor, scholar, internationally known demographer and former vice president of the Population Reference Bureau.

He came out of retirement in 2000 to teach at ODU and worked at the university for more than 10 years. Charles Wilson, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, described him as dedicated to both his students and his discipline. "He was a beloved teacher, becoming one of the most popular instructors in the department, indeed in the university," said Wilson.

During his tenure at ODU, Bouvier was a widely sought-after demographer and expert on the U.S. Census. He was quoted and appeared on the front page of The New York Times (April 17, 2001) in a story about the changing face of suburbs in the United States. Randy Gainey, chair of the sociology and criminal justice department, described Bouvier as a student's teacher who cared immensely about the success of each student.

At the age of 16 and known then as Lee Francis, he left school to begin a 20-year career as a trumpeter in leading jazz bands along the East Coast. It wasn't until the age of 34, married with four small children, that he entered Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. in 1957, earning a bachelor's degree in history and sociology. In 1964, he received a master's from Brown University.

Following his education, Bouvier went on to teach at six colleges, including Georgetown University and Tulane University's School of Public Health. From 1981-87, he served as director of research and vice president of the Population Reference Bureau (Washington, D.C.); demographic adviser to the Select Committee on Population, U.S. House of Representatives; and as a member of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy.

During his career, Bouvier presented guest lectures and workshops at nearly 30 other universities across the country. He was the author of more than 60 articles and 18 books. His most recent work was titled "Press Population and Society: An Introduction to Demography," published by Cambridge University.

Bouvier is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

This article was posted on: February 1, 2011

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