James W. Barany - A Purdue Legacy 1930-2011

James Barany
Dr. James W. Barany, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering
We are extremely sad to announce that Dr. James W. Barany, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering, passed away Monday night, November 7, 2011 at St. Elizabeth Central Hospital in Lafayette, Indiana. With his passing, the School of Industrial Engineering, the College of Engineering, and Purdue University have lost one of the most respected and beloved members of our family. Seemingly from the day he arrived at Purdue in 1958 through the last seven decades, Dr. Barany has been the heart and soul of Purdue IE and he will be sorely missed.

Dr. Barany's hallmark, and what hundreds of alumni who have passed through his office will remember most, is his dedication and passion for students. He always made himself available to students and has spent countless hours helping them succeed in their classes and in life.

He was an expert in advising thousands of incoming freshmen, undergraduates, and graduate students on every aspect of their education - courses, jobs, internships, coop appointments, majors, etc.  He had an encyclopedic memory of Purdue regulations, people, and precedents, and could always find a way to solve every tricky academic problem that arose. He also brought this skill to the national level where he became the top person in the Institute of Industrial Engineers for teaching young faculty mentors the intricacies of students advising.

A native of South Bend, Indiana, Dr. Barany received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame while working the night shift at the Studebaker Motor Corporation. He entered Purdue's industrial engineering graduate program in 1956 with the first class of industrial engineering undergraduates. Following completion of his master's degree, he was appointed to the faculty as an instructor in 1958 and promoted to assistant professor after finishing his PhD in 1961.

As a researcher, Dr. Barany gained international recognition for his studies of hemiplegic gait using a force platform of his original design, fabrication, and validation. His rapid promotion to full professor in 1969 was followed by appointment as the associate head of Undergraduate Programs for the School of Industrial Engineering in 1970, a position he held for many years – even coming back after his first retirement to help out the School.

Up until his death, Dr. Barany maintained an active involvement with the IE department and with student organizations on campus. He was teaching IE 200, Introduction to Industrial Engineering. He was active in class scheduling, the co-op program, and scholarship selection, and was the faculty advisor for the student chapter of the Institute of Industrial engineers since 1972. He also  served as faculty fellow at Tarkington Hall since 1975. In fact, he seemed to put in as much time after his retirement as he did before he retired (the second time).

Dr. Barany was both loved and respected by his current and former students, friends, and peers.  He has left his mark on all of us.