James Foley, the 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by Islamic State militants in Syria, was a 2008 graduate of the master’s program at Northwestern University’s Medill School in Evanston.

In a statement on the school’s website, Dean Bradley Hamm said, “Our Medill family is shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the murder of Jim Foley. He was a courageous reporter who risked his life repeatedly to seek the truth around the world.”

Foley received his undergraduate degree from Marquette University in 1996, and officials there announced plans for a prayer vigil in his memory next week.

Foley’s mother, Diane, issued a statement on a Facebook page set up after his abduction by militants two year ago, saying, “We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.”

The militants have also threatened to kill other journalists they hold if the U.S. doesn’t stop its efforts to repell advances by Islamic State forces in Iraq, and Diane Foley added in her statement, “We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.”

President Obama today said he had spoken to Foley’s family and told them “we are all heartbroken at their loss, and join with them in honoring Jim.”

He added that the militants speak for no religion. “Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. My heart

    My heart just breaks everytime I hear about this story. My blessings and love goes out to this family. I don't kow what I would do if this was my son. GOD Bless

    RIP James Foley

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