On Thursday, Oct. 27, the University of Dallas sent out an email to undergraduates announcing the passing of senior Brandon Barrett.
Barrett attended Glendale Preparatory Academy in Peoria, Ariz., before coming to UD.
He is survived by his parents, David and Susan Barrett, and his sisters, Jennifer and Lindsay.
Barrett was a biology major, and the email from Executive Vice President Dr. John Plotts hailed him as one of the university’s brightest students.
To date, there is no information available regarding the nature of Barrett’s passing, except that it occurred early Thursday morning.
What the UD community does have, however, is a keen sense of who Brandon Barrett was and how much he will missed.
“He made a tremendous contribution to UD,” Plotts said.
There is no question regarding Barrett’s academic commitment and excellence.
“Brandon Barrett was one of the most driven, motivated and talented students to ever sit in a broken Gorman chair or stumble over the well placed stones that lie along the mall,” senior Ezra Surtees said.
Barrett participated in Dr. William Cody’s research lab since his freshman year.
Last spring, Barrett won the Orville Wyss Award at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Texas Branch Conference in recognition of his research efforts.
He coauthored several poster presentations for conferences, including one which will be submitted later in the year.
His academic precision extended well past classes in his major, as English professor Dr. Bernadette Waterman Ward recounted:
“He was thoughtful and polite in class, evidently reveling in his excellent academic preparation and the power of his drive for knowledge,” Waterman Ward said. “I thought that I would keep track of him as he went on to medical school; if he settled anywhere near Dallas, this was the kind of thorough mind I wanted in my doctor.”
However, Barrett was not only an exceptionally bright student; he was also an active and joyful participant in UD’s community.
“I am so proud of the work he did as a member of my research lab and the passion he showed,” Cody said. “More than all of his academic accomplishments, I am proud of the type of person he was.”
“[Brandon] always had a contagious charisma that followed him wherever he went and [in] whatever he pursued,” Kiran Chatha said.
In addition to tutoring biology, Barrett volunteered with both Reading Partners and an English-as-a-second-language program.
Barrett was also involved in the French Club and the Pre-Health Society, and he worked in the student health clinic.
Amelia Kurkowski, who worked with Barrett in the health clinic, was struck by Barrett’s patience and generosity of spirit in the workplace:
“He was always willing to help and was never annoyed or upset about doing so,” Kurkowski said.
“Brandon was an exceptionally intelligent, mature and dedicated student with great potential to have a positive impact on this world,” Cody said. “He was also a friend and a valued part of my life. He is greatly missed.”
Currently, administration is working to set up religious services and other opportunities for students to both mourn Barrett’s passing and celebrate his life.
Already, Barrett’s Facebook has turned into a remembrance page. Many students have posted pictures of their friend, a testament to how deeply those at UD will remember and miss him.
Administration reminds students that counseling services are available for anyone who needs them.
Many students and faculty have shared their memories and thoughts of Brandon in our post, Remembering Brandon Barrett.