by Joseph S. Rosenberg, Xi Alpha ’96 and Phil Reber, Theta ’86
Growing up in a Catholic household and attending a catholic school for my formative years it was drilled into me that one should love thy neighbor. Well this is something that has come easy for the Brothers at Theta since one of the neighbors was actually a Brother. Brother James Barany, Honorary ’69, who was a professor for more than 52 years in the School of Industrial Engineering lived directly next door to the Theta Chapter house. However, this fact went unknown to most of our more recent Brothers.
James was born August 24, 1930 in South Bend, Indiana. He attended High School at Marmion Academy in Aurora, IL and graduated from Notre Dame University in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering. While attending Notre Dame, Jim worked for Studebaker Corporation and was a member of the United Auto Workers Union. After graduating from Notre Dame, Jim served in the US Army as a combat engineer during the Korean conflict. After military service, Jim went on to study Industrial Engineering at Purdue University, receiving a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in 1956. Brother Barany joined the faculty in 1958 after completing his master’s degree at the university. In 1961 he received his Ph.D. from Purdue University. In 1969 Brother Barany became a full professor at Purdue. His career at Purdue spans more than 50 years educating engineering students. In 1998 the State of Indiana recognized Jame’s widespread contributions by giving him its highest honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash award. The State of Indiana bestowed upon Brother Barany a Distinguished Hoosier award in 2005. In 2006 he was named the National Outstanding Faculty Advisor by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Upon receiving the award Professor Barany said “It’s not the awards that flatter me; what flatters me is that my students nominated me”. He retired from teaching in 2010. Upon his retirement a fundraising committee comprised of past students of our Brother raised more than a million dollars to establish the James W. Barany Endowed Scholarship in Industrial Engineering. The scholarship is a merit based scholarship that is awarded to juniors and seniors majoring in Industrial Engineering.
Brother Phil Reber, Theta ’86 recalls when in 1984 as winter approached the fraternity ran out of firewood for its fireplace in the Great Hall. Brother Barany had a very nice, even, well stacked lot of firewood. Over the course of about a month, his stack of firewood took on a decidedly crooked look (like a bar graph becoming progressively smaller in the direction of the fraternity house). At some point, Barany made it politely known to one of the brothers passing by that he needed his firewood and asked that we kindly stop taking his firewood. At which point, a couple ricks of firewood were ordered and when it was delivered to the fraternity the brothers formed a brigade line and restocked Brother Barany's firewood stack to as new condition. When the firewood was restocked the Brothers that formed the brigade line jokingly congratulated each other for doing such a good deed.
Brother Barany passed away on November 7, 2011. If you have a story or information about how Brother Barany became associated with Theta, we encourage you to share it with us by sending it to the National Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.