One of the Great Canadian Open Advocates No Longer With Us

With a heavy heart I share the news of the passing of Irwin DeVries (@IrwinD here) who was part of the early developments of open education in British Columbia, an Associate Provost of Open Learning at Thompson Rivers University, and most recently, associate faculty in Education & Technology at Royal Roads University.

Man in dark suit emphatically speaking to audience in front of a screen bearing an image of a boat
Irwin With Emphasis flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

He was also a good friend and mentor to me and others here. Please share any memories or better yet, contribute to a Thompson Rivers Scholarship fund in his name.

Missing you much, Irwin.


Well said. Irwin was a champion and great friend with a gentle soul and wry sense of humour. I will miss our lunches and laughs together.

I’m so sorry to hear that Alan - sending hugs and best wishes to you and his family

I was so sorry to hear of Irwin’s passing. He is a legend. Thank you for sharing the link to the scholarship fund.

I was very sad to hear of Irwin’s passing. He was one of the good ones! I really appreciated his supportive approach and unassuming manner. Also, he rocked way harder than most! We had some great jams and other good times. He will be greatly missed.

This is very sad news for me.

I knew Irwin from our mutual interest and involvement with education technology and open education work. One of my roles at BCcampus was providing a home for and supporting the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG), of which Irwin was a long standing member and leader. ETUG is really a community and Irwin always stood out as one of those special people who embodies community spirit. His warm, friendly manner and genuine interest in others made both newcomers and long standing community members feel welcome and part of something special. I will always remember the way Irwin shared his work in ways that offered creative thinking and insight with a sense of humour and a story. Irwin was modest and humble about the many remarkable things he did and all the more admirable for being so. Irwin cared and because he cared others did too. His good nature made you want to be good like him. Irwin was a kind of role model for me and many others.

Over the last several years I’ve been fortunate to enjoy sunny summer afternoons sipping slushy margaritas from Sol y Limon in the park with Irwin, Tannis Morgan and Vivian Forssman. Sitting on the grass we’d reminisce and reflect on the past, share current stories from our lives, and speculate on the future. There was great seriousness and much laughter. Such moments are treasures of camaraderie, encouragement and care. Thank you Irwin I carry these in me everywhere.

Scholarship donation made.

I just heard from Brian Lamb at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and a close friend of Irwin’s – if you really want to know more about the kind of human Irwin Devries was please read Brian’s blogged tribute.

A memorial is scheduled for March 9 in Surrey, B.C. for those who live in the Vancouver area, a strong showing will be appreciated by the DeVries family.

Brian shared that the TRU scholarship fund in Irwin’s name has raised $16,000 so far, and if it can reach $25,000, it will be permanently endowed scholarship fund for future TRU students.

In the spirit of upcoming Open Education Week, please consider making a donation via and see if we can make it an ongoing tribute to Irwin. I just topped off my previous one. Please share widely, thank you.

1 Like