Office of the Dean

June 1, 2015

It is with regret that I share with you the news of the death of Ronald Keith Barrett, Ph.D., long-time professor and past chair of the Psychology Department at LMU.  His death occurred in late May, following a long illness.  He was 66 years old. Professor Barrett joined the LMU Psychology Department in 1978, and served as chair from 2009 to 2014. In addition, he served as acting chair of the African American Studies Department from 2004 to 2008.  

Professor Barrett’s teaching and research focused on death, dying and bereavement; African-American funeral rites; and urban youth homicidal violence to name just a few key contributions to the academy and larger community. He was an internationally recognized specialist on the study of cross-cultural differences in death and had published widely on African-American funeral practices and multicultural perspectives. He was highly regarded as a scholar but also as a hands-on community advocate. His efforts in the HIV/AIDS community led him to being widely known nationally for his work and consultations on bereavement burnout prevention. He also founded and ran a grass-roots urban anti-gang, drug and violence prevention program in South Central Los Angeles.

Professor Barrett was known for his passion and concern for the success of African-American students and faculty at LMU.  He served as a mentor to numerous students and faculty over the years.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Professor Barrett earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Morgan State University, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. 

You are invited to join faculty and current students in remembering our highly esteemed colleague, mentor and friend Ronald Keith Barrett on Friday, Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. in Sacred Heart Chapel.  A reception hosted by the Office of the Dean of BCLA will immediately follow.  

If you wish to make a gift in honor of Professor Barrett, please contact Donna Gray ’96, M.B.A. ’05 at donna.gray@lmu.edu or at 310.338.7852.

Professor Barrett was a much loved faculty member and will be greatly missed. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. 

Warmest Regards, 

Robbin D. Crabtree, Ph.D.
Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts