A pioneer in physical education and women’s athletics at Cal State Fullerton, Jean A. Barrett died July 9 at the age of 86. The late professor joined the University in 1963 as the first female faculty member in the Physical Education Department (now Department of Kinesiology) and was honored with the emeritus title in 1991 after 28 years of service.
During her time at CSUF, Barrett served in a number of leadership roles, including chair of the Faculty Council (now Academic Senate), chair and graduate program coordinator of the Physical Education Department, and chair of the Faculty Personnel Committee.
Passionate about promoting the joy of sports and recreation, Barrett was instrumental in developing the University’s physical education teacher preparation program and its sports psychology curriculum. She also established and initially coached the women’s basketball, golf, volleyball and tennis teams.
Her own athletic talents included golf, archery, swimming, racquetball, tennis and field hockey. An instructor and authority on archery, Barrett penned one of the few books on the sport at its time. In addition, she played golf competitively and recreationally well into her 80s as part of the Alta Vista Country Club Women's Golf Association where she was a member since 1972.
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Barrett received her bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from Cortland State Teachers College, her master’s degree from the University of Buffalo, and her doctorate in teacher education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to heading west, Barrett taught at Williamsburg High School (NY) and the University of Buffalo.
Barrett had an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoyed supporting friends and family. She was a mentor to many throughout her life. She is survived by her sister, Mary Mounts (Oregon) and nieces, Deborah Ward Krans (Texas), Kimberly Mounts (Oregon), Laura Joy Wittig (New York) and nephews Gregory Duhamel (New Hampshire) and William Wittig (New York). She is preceded in death by her parents and sister, Norma Wittig.
A scholarship in her mother’s name, Louise Annie Gillespie, will be established at Cal State Fullerton. If you’d like to make a donation, please contact Elizabeth Eastin at (714) 451-5422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.