The Suspect





James Van de Velde

General Information

Name: James Van de Velde

Age: 39

Former Academic Positions: Dean of Saybrook College, Yale University; Executive Director, Asian-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University; Political Science lecturer, Yale University


The second of James and Lois Van de Velde's three children, and their only son, Van de Velde grew up in Orange, Connecticut. His mother worked as an administrative assistant at Yale, and his father in the media business, for the local ABC affiliate and also for Showtime. A driven workaholic, he died of lung cancer when his son was in graduate school. The family was staunchly Roman Catholic.

Van de Velde was president of the Student Council at Amity Regional High School, in the wealthy New Haven suburb of Woodbridge. He was captain of the soccer team, played on the tennis and baseball teams, and was a member of the National Honor Society. His date to the senior prom was the most beautiful cheerleader at Amity. His pictures in the high-school yearbook are of a stereotypical American golden boy-----big, athletic, somewhat shy-looking.

Van de Velde majored in political science at Yale. He sang in the university's well-known Russian chorus his freshman year and twice traveled to Asia on internships. He was a serious student who graduated with honors. After Yale, Van de Velde went to Boston to Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, from which, in 1987, he received his Ph.D. in international- security studies. In 1988 he was selected for a prestigious Presidential Management Internship and was assigned to work at the Pentagon and at the State Department, where he stayed for four years, working on U.S.-Soviet disarmament issues.

In 1988, Van de Velde also joined the U.S. Naval Intelligence Reserves, in which he still holds the rank of lieutenant commander, with a "Top Secret" clearance. Trained in intelligence work, he was assigned to Singapore, Brussels, and Panama, where he analyzed the drug trade out of the Latin America. In 1993, after Bill Clinton defeated George Bush, Van de Velde, who was a political appointee and a Republican, left the State Department. That fall he was back at Yale as the dean of Saybrook College.

Van de Velde took a leave of absence from the dean's job, early in 1997, to go to Italy on assignment for naval intelligence. He came back that April to complete the semester, and then left Yale to go to Stanford's Asian-Pacific Research Center as its executive director. In May 1998, nine months into a five-year contract, he resigned and returned to New Haven.

Jovin was accepted into Van de Velde's seminar Strategy and Policy in the Conduct of War, in September 1998. He then was selected by Jovin to be her senior essay advisor because she was impressed by Van de Velde's teaching.

One month after Jovin's death, Van de Velde's name appeared in a list of suspects which linked him with the killing. After one day, the university decided to cancel the two political science courses he was to have taught, because keeping him in the classroom would "constitute a major distraction for students and impair their educational experience," Yale's spokesman Thomas Conroy said. He was also dismissed by Quinnipiac College from the graduate journalism program he was attending part-time. Van de Velde, who has not been charged with anything, said his life had become a "nightmare".

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Introduction|The Crime|The Victim|The Suspect|

The Evidence|The Map|My Questions|My View

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