The William A. Barron Jr. '51 Multimedia Lab was named for actor, director, producer and alum Barron in 1997 to honor him for his generous contribution to the L. Thomas Melly Academic Center in the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Now, on April 26, the Colleges will honor the late Barron with a celebration of remembrance and life. His wife, Pat, has generously contributed framed memorabilia from Barron's life that will be hung in the lab. Fittingly, the celebration will be held at noon in the Multimedia Lab, with lunch immediately following.
A native of St. Louis, Barron had a long history in the performing arts, beginning at the age of nine as a child actor. He attended Admiral Farragut Academy in Pine Beach, N.J., where he was active in drama and earned a varsity letter in track. Upon graduating in 1945, Barron joined the U.S. Navy and served until 1947, when he enrolled at Hobart College. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Chimera honor society, Barron (who was known as “Barroni” on campus) was also active in the Little Theatre. He graduated cum laude from Hobart in 1951 with a B.A. in English.
Barron then worked for 15 years for Columbia Broadcasting, and later American Broadcasting Company, as a director and producer. Among other productions, he developed live television broadcasts from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Wasp for the recovery of astronauts from five Gemini missions in 1965 and 1966. Before retiring in the 1980s, Barron freelanced for several years as a director, producer and consultant for motion pictures, theaters and advertising studios.
A gifted actor, Barron had a keen interest in the performing arts. Some of his fondest memories of Hobart and William Smith were of the Little Theatre and, in particular, professor emeritus Edward E. Griffith, with whom he maintained a close friendship beyond graduation.
Even though he and his wife Patricia (Pat) lived in Hawaii, they were very involved with the Colleges. Barron was a long-time class correspondent for The Pulteney St. Survey and enjoyed counseling current Hobart and William Smith students during career fairs and other events. Over the years, he and Pat supported the theater program and performing arts at the Colleges. They provided for various academic initiatives in addition to the L. Thomas Melly Academic Center.
In an interview with The Finger Lakes Times shortly after their gift to the L. Thomas Melly Academic Center, Barron explained the influence the Colleges had on his life and his desire to recognize their impact.
“I…think the Colleges' contribution to my life was more than anything else. Literally, it touched every phase of my life…. I am pleased that I may make a difference in the Colleges' future.”
Barron passed away in November 2002. Since then, Pat has continued her husband's legacy of supporting his alma mater and making a difference in the lives of its students for generations to come.
President Mark D. Gearan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees David Deming '75 and two students will speak at the ceremony. One of the student speakers will read a poem written about Barron by another alumnus.