Many students and faculty members have expressed their thoughts concerning the passing of Brandon Barrett. The University News shares some of them here.
“Well guys, I’m going to bed.”
These seemingly mundane words were actually incredibly unusual, in that they were being uttered around 9:30 p.m. As Brandon would place his textbooks in his backpack, a time-honored ritual would unfold, consisting of teasing and pleading, in the hopes that he would continue to play hearts and drink red wine, an activity that occurred almost nightly in our Rome semester of spring 2015. Our offers to tuck him into bed were refused.
It was inevitable. Brandon would go to bed, and the rest of us would spend the rest of the evening, and some of the morning, having unproductive discussions, all the while trying to convince ourselves that they related in some way to our studies.
The following morning, Brandon would be up studying as early as 5 a.m., a sharp contrast to my morning routine, which consisted of groggily attempting to put clothes on and stubbing my toe on various objects in my bedroom. Although we would both arrive to class at the same time, Brandon would arrive in a far different condition, already prepared for an exam that would be weeks away. He was the only person I knew to survive the most dangerous lie that college students tell themselves:
“I will wake up early and finish it.”
His work ethic and his pure love of knowledge and truth were contagious. These traits carried over into his personal relationships as well, as he was one of the most loyal and generous individuals I have had the privilege of meeting. He is the epitome of what we students at UD strive for: an incredible student, and more importantly, an even better man.
— Ezra Surtees, senior business major
To this day he is saved on my phone as “bbwalnut.” We found out that was his old email address when in Rome and would poke fun at him for it.
He had the best smile; it was so contagious, and he was always down for a good joke.
We were on the Greece trip, in Mycenae, and were headed down the big hill to the buses. As we were heading down, a couple of us found this cave with steps leading down into darkness. Brandon was the first one in the cave and all of us followed him down the steps, using our phones as flashlights to see. It was so slippery and dark, and for a bit we lost sight of Brandon because he was so far ahead of us. He was the first to find the end, where the stairs began to be submerged with water. Even so, he tried to use his light to see the bottom, which he couldn’t.
We left the cave only to notice we were late for the bus, so we booked it down the hill, laughing at our first spelunking experience.
He was also one of the most competitive people I’ve met. There was this game we all played on our phones called Crossy Road, and he absolutely needed to have the top score. Whenever he lost his standing to one of us, he would spend his free time playing the game until he reclaimed the top score. I remember he would change his character from the frog to a dot, so that he could see more of the phone screen. To this day, he has the top score on Crossy Road of all his friends.
— Marian Henares, senior business major
I first met Brandon in the health clinic first semester of our freshman year. Just this past semester he was my lab assistant again in microbiology on Thursday afternoons. Many times I would incessantly ask for help … Anyone else would find me incredibly annoying. But Brandon never appeared annoyed at all; he was always so willing to help regardless of the task.
I specifically remember one instance a few weeks ago in which I broke a slide in the microscope and Brandon came over and helped me get it out of the microscope; he even said I could go and he would continue getting the pieces out after lab. I apologized profusely but he wasn’t upset at all — that just wasn’t part of Brandon’s character. He was always willing to help and was never annoyed or upset about doing so.
I wouldn’t consider myself a close friend of Brandon’s, but he was such a constant presence that it definitely shook me up when I heard the news. I used to walk past him all the time in Old Mill for the past couple of months. I hope that one day I will be able to see him again in eternal life.
— Amelia Kurkowski, senior biology major
I remember his first term, as we were reading Homer, that he accosted me about the tense of a certain Greek verb so that he could ascertain the nuances of Zeus’s relationship to an unfortunate mortal. He had more Greek than I; I had to go ask Dr. Dave Davies.
— Dr. Bernadette Waterman Ward, associate professor, English
Brandon has got to be one of the brightest people I have ever had the fortune of meeting. We were able to become close friends during our Rome semester. He was always happy and smiled at any situation. He has always had a very strong work ethic and would keep studying when most would already be on a break. He could have easily been one of the candidates for the class of 2017’s title of valedictorian.
It is such a shame that a man with a great heart and an amazing mind would be gone at such a young age.
Most importantly, it is a shame to have lost such a great friend.
On the boat trip to Greece we played card games for hours as he revealed this competitive side more and more. It was a night of endless rematches that never got boring. I introduced him to a cellphone game and would tease him with the high score I got. The next day he would come up to me with his higher score and that continued in a back-and-forth all semester long. Of course, him being Brandon, he finally won by obtaining an obscene score that would lead to everyone accepting defeat to both his dedication and smirk.
I am honored to have known Brandon. He is an inspiration. It hurts to have a good friend pass away without warning.
I hope that he will rest in peace and that his family will receive our prayers.
— Anthony Garnier, senior business major
I am so proud of the work he did as a member of my research lab and the passion he showed. More than all of his academic accomplishments, I am proud of the type of person he was.
I enjoyed spending time with Brandon in the lab, discussing fitness, how old the newest class of freshmen made me feel and my children’s latest exploits.
Brandon was an exceptionally intelligent, mature and dedicated student with great potential to have a positive impact on this world. He was also a friend and a valued part of my life. He is greatly missed.
— Dr. William Cody, assistant professor, biology
The most beautiful things in life are not just things. They’re people and places, memories and pictures.
They’re feelings and moments, smiles and laughter. Brandon Barrett showed me that.
For those who knew him and those who didn’t, we can all agree that his smile is just one of the many things we are going to miss.
Rest in peace, Brandon — we all love and miss you so much.
— Kiran Chatha, senior biology major