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Summer Edition
Volume 100, Number 1

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Professor retires after 42 years ‘on the cusp of technology’

Generations of Messiah College students benefited from Robert Barrett’s brilliant mind and kind heart

Professor Robert Barrett
Professor Bob Barrett has seen 42 commencement ceremonies and still celebrates the successes of his students, like WIlliam Kungu, a 2008 computer science grad.

Over four decades ago, Bob Barrett—a young engineer who worked for the Boeing Company designing tools for spaceships—came to Messiah College to teach physics. This spring he retired from his full-time position, which had expanded to include teaching engineering, mathematics, and computer science. Barrett ministered to students over the years through mission trips, World Christian Fellowship, Joshua Prayer walks, and the Outdoors Club. William Kungu ’08, a computer science major (pictured here with Barrett), says his professor “encouraged and empowered me to face the tough choices” concerning course selection and internships that were right for him. This fall, Barrett will continue running the physics lab at Messiah. But he looks forward to spending a little more time in his kayak. He’ll also explore his current hobby of photography—digital, of course, because, as he says, “It really pays for a teacher to be on the cusp of technology!”—snapping shots of birds, the stars, and probably his grandchildren.

Click here to send Professor Barrett an e-mail.

Citation read at the Employee Appreciation Ceremony

"Bob Barrett, assistant professor of physics and computer science with the mathematical sciences department, has been teaching and truly serving at Messiah College for forty-two years.  Bob is certified as a professional engineer and was the sole engineering advisor before the formation of the engineering department.  He has been a regular consultant for the local engineering firm Modjeski and Masters.  A graduate of MIT, where he became a Christian, Bob has taught physics, engineering, computer science, mathematics, and statistics during his career at Messiah, in addition to leading summer mission trips and acting as a long-time advisor for the Outdoors Club. 

Bob is known in his department for his encouraging spirit, willingness to be flexible, and his ability to keep our equipment in working order.  His cheerful disposition and sense of humor have often lightened a stressful or dull day.  Walking down the halls of Frey, one can hear Bob start a class with a worship song, accompanied by his banjo.  In recognition of his heart for service, Bob was awarded the Barnabas Award by the Agapé Center in 2004.

Bob and his wife, JoAnn, live near campus, where they raised two sons and a daughter and now enjoy the visits of their grandchildren.  Bob will surely not be inactive in his retirement.  If you want to catch up with him, your best bet is to get in a kayak and join him on the Yellow Breeches."

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