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Barry Bean, Ph.D.
Barry Bean, Ph.D.
November 2, 1942 - June 25, 2012

On June 25, 2012, we were saddened to learn that Professor Barry Bean had passed away. Barry joined the Lehigh University Faculty in 1973 and served with dedication and distinction for 39 years. He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from Tufts University in 1964 and his doctorate in Life Sciences from Rockefeller University in 1970. After a year overseas in the Department of Biochemistry at the Indian Institute for Science in Bangalore, India, he returned to Rockefeller as a Postdoctoral Fellow for an additional two years prior to his appointment as an Assistant Professor in what was then the Department of Biology. Barry served as Chair of the department from 1983-1985, where he recruited some of the faculty that are here today.

Barry Bean loved science and students. As a scholar, he was interested in human male reproductive biology. His group focused on the function of sperm and the processes underlying sperm–egg interactions and fertilization, with a special emphasis on how characterizing these mechanisms might lead to new forms of contraception in males. He published regularly in this area, was a frequent presenter at meetings, and served on the Editorial Board of the Archives of Andrology.

We know that students fortunate enough to pass through his classroom or work in his group came away knowing that he cared deeply about both their professional and personal development. Barry worked with more than 120 undergraduates in his lab over the course of his career. Many have gone on to some of the very best graduate and medical schools. Barry took great pride in their accomplishments.

Barry’s work with graduate-level international students was one of the highlights of his career, particularly his mentorship and training of Ph.D. students from Thailand.  Barry knew that globalization was critical for our future long before it became fashionable in higher education. His efforts in welcoming international students to Lehigh and in advocating for the value of having diverse cultures represented at the University, like his belief in translational research, was ahead of its time and testimony to his vision as an educator and global citizen.

Professor Barry Bean was a colleague, mentor, friend, husband, and father. We cannot adequately convey his impact on our professional and personal lives with these words. What we can say was that Barry was a good man in the very best sense of the term. He was gracious, kind, encouraging, insightful, and a wonderful colleague. He believed deeply in social responsibility and that our obligation as educators is to make Lehigh, our community, and hopefully the world, a better place. He was unrelenting in this commitment and, for those of us that knew Barry well, we expect he would say he was never able to do enough. But we would say to you today that he did; his life and influence have made all of us better.

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2012 Newsletter designed by Maria Brace
Department of Biological Sciences
Lehigh University