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James Foley’s close friends from college remember their friend, “Jim” as vigil is held near Marquette campus

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Marquette community says goodbye to James Foley. Hundreds on Tuesday, April 26th filled the Church of the Gesu near Marquette's campus to reflect on Foley's life. This, after he was murdered last week at the hands of terrorists from the Islamic state. During the vigil, Foley's close friends reflected on the man behind the news headlines.

Foley graduated from Marquette University in 1996. During his time there, he developed a close group of friends, who are now helping each other through this difficult time.

By now, the world has heard of James Foley, the journalist. But inside the Church of the Gesu on Tuesday, friends from Marquette remembered their friend, "Jim."

"Jimmy, I`m looking out in the Gesu. I`ve never seen this place so full. So many people are here," Foley's friend Tom Durkin said.

Foley's closest friends from college sat in the front row during Tuesday's vigil. Durkin spoke on their behalf -- reciting a letter he wrote to Jim.

"Jimmy man, I miss you. I want one more hug, one more phone call, one more trip, one more adventure," Durkin said.

Friends describe the real person behind the conviction and strength seen in pictures and news reports.

"Everyone talks about his extreme bravery and his courage in the face of everything he did. No one has touched on what a wonderful friend and what a deeply, deeply truly funny person he was," Foley's friend, Mike Keating said.

Friends say they'll remember Foley's curiosity and his fight for the underdog. They've been a comfort to each other since his death.

"Through Marquette and afterwards, we kind of think of it as a brotherhood, like band of brothers and that`s what makes it special, but it also makes it hard when you lose someone like that," Foley's friend, Dan Hanrahan said.

Bag pipes welcomed hundreds to the vigil -- a nod to Foley's Irish heritage.

Inside the Church of the Gesu, prayers were said for journalists who serve in war zones.

The Marquette Dean of Communications spent time with Foley during his last visit to campus -- and thanked him for his service to his craft.

"To tell the stories of human lives and human history. To tell the stories of truth that make a difference. God Bless James Foley," Dr. Lori Bergen said.

Foley came back to campus as recently as 2011 to speak with students.

CLICK HERE to read more stories about James Foley on

A scholarship fund in Foley’s name has also been set up at Marquette University for disadvantaged students who want to go into communications. CLICK HERE for more information on the scholarship fund.

CLICK HERE to read “Phone call home.” It’s a letter from James Foley to Marquette University that was published in Marquette magazine this summer.

CLICK HERE to learn more about James Foley’s mission via the website.

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