BOSTON >> The Massachusetts man held captive in Iran for 40 days returned home to friends and family Sunday night.

Matthew Trevithick arrived through the international arrivals door at Boston's Logan Airport around 6:30 p.m., put his arm around his mother and guided her out the terminal door, The Boston Globe reported.

The 30-year-old Hingham man was released Saturday independently of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran that saw four American prisoners discharged. Officials haven't said why Trevithick was taken into custody and held in Evin Prison for more than a month.

Phone messages left for his parents Sunday night were not immediately returned. In a statement earlier, his family said that he was wrapping up a four-month language program at an institute associated with Tehran University when he was detained.

Trevithick also is a co-founder of SREO, a humanitarian crisis research center.

Upon news of his release, his friends and colleagues said they were relieved and spoke of him fondly.

"I don't think I've ever met anyone who exudes as much energy, enthusiasm and curiosity," said Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University, where Trevithick was his student.

Bacevich said he was "immensely gratified" to learn of Trevithick's release.

"I only hope that his ordeal won't compromise any of the qualities that make him the special person that he is," Bacevich said.


Trevithick's website said he coached rowing teams in Iraq and Afghanistan while working abroad. That work included time at the American University of Afghanistan and the American University of Iraq.

It was in Iraq that Trevithick met rowing coach Bruce Smith, who was conducting a rowing camp for the Iraqi national rowing team. The two hit it off and collaborated on a project to set up a rowing camp at Lake Dukan in northern Iraq.

"He's an optimistic and tremendous fellow, and we're so happy about the work everyone did to secure his release," said Smith, executive director of Community Rowing Inc., in Brighton.

Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the Wilson Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, described Trevithick as a "winsome, sweet and intelligent man."

Trevithick was Wright's research assistant at the Wilson Center in 2009, and the two have remained friends, she said.

"Whenever he came back to the U.S. we saw each other and he came by to schmooze," Wright said.

Trevithick's release also coincided with the announcement that Iran has satisfied its obligations under a nuclear deal with world powers.