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  • Writer's pictureHANNA BABEK & KAIT BEDELL

Barrett, LeRoux, Montepare and the legacies left behind

Communications professor Dr. Janice Barrett retires this June after 18 years with the Lasell community. Photo courtesy of Janice Barrett

Communications professor Dr. Janice Barrett will retire in June after 18 years at Lasell. She joined the faculty in August 2006 as the founding chair of the communications department and associate professor before being promoted to professor four years later. 


Prior to her career here, Barrett taught undergraduate and graduate communications classes at Boston University (BU) for 10 years. After her time at BU, Barrett decided to pursue a leadership position in higher education and applied for several dean and chair positions. 


The former vice president of academic affairs and dean of arts and sciences were looking for someone with the credentials to create a communications department, and Barrett fit the expectations. 


“I loved creating the department because it was challenging and an exciting entrepreneurial process that involved working with several different departments and people across Lasell,” Barrett said.  

While looking back on her time here, Barrett recalled receiving the Thomas J. de Witt Award in Educational Leadership at the 2018 commencement. “That accolade was a very humbling and extraordinary day in my memory. I was grateful that my contributions to the Lasell community were recognized publicly, with my family seated in the front row,” Barrett said.


“Moving into the future, I wish the very best to all my cherished colleagues and valued students. I hope Lasell continues to expand, grow and keep its mission to serve our students foremost. I am confident that President Turner will continue advancing Lasell University’s student-centered presence in higher education,” Barrett said.


After spending time as the Director of International Programs as well as the Director of the Donahue Institute for Public Life and Values, Tessa LeRoux is retiring from her position as a professor of sociology. Photo courtesy of Tessa LeRoux

In addition to Barrett, Professor of Sociology Tessa LeRoux is also retiring after 24 years at Lasell. 


LeRoux spent time as the Director of International Programs as well as the Director of the Donahue Institute for Public Life and Values. Prior to her time at Lasell, LeRoux also spent time as an assistant professor at the department of sociology for the University of South Africa. 


As LeRoux leaves Lasell, she hopes to continue her work in environmental sustainability while continuing to teach her community about nature and the impact of gardening using native plants as she had previously done through volunteer work with the Audubon Society. 


While LeRoux looks forward to the work she will be doing in retirement, she said that Lasell gave her some of her “happiest work life years” and that leaving is a bittersweet moment for her. 


“Lasell has really been like a home to me in many ways,” LeRoux said. “I had some personal crises one time early in my time here when my husband had a traumatic brain injury and this was like a family to me. I mean the school was just incredibly supportive. I really really was happy here.” 


LeRoux said that she enjoyed the opportunity Lasell gave her to get involved in the community and explore different things. 


As she plans to continue her work in environmental awareness, LeRoux said that she hopes she leaves behind a legacy rooted in the issues she spent a career teaching.


“I will retire happy knowing that I raised awareness about social justice issues, both with the Donahue Institute at the time when I was director, and also through my teaching,” LeRoux said. 


Joann Montepare retires from Lasell after about 13 years as a professor of psychology as well as the director for the RoseMary B. Fuss Center for Research of aging and Intergenerational Studies. Photo courtesy of Joann Montepare

Another faculty member retiring after this academic year is Professor of Psychology Joann Montepare. Montepare is also the director for the RoseMary B. Fuss Center for Research on Aging and Intergenerational Studies. 


Montepare has been at Lasell for about 13 years and has valued her work in exploring intergenerational learning. 


Outside of Lasell, Montepare has worked with the Gerontological Society of America in higher education efforts for age inclusivity. As she moves into her retirement, she hopes to continue in this line of work. 


Montepare said that the work she has done has pushed her to branch out to new things, and that she hopes others are encouraged to do the same in anything that they do.


“I had to step out of my comfort zone,” Montepare said. “You know, I was a traditional researcher, traditional university instructor, teacher, and professor, and so I had to really step out of that comfort zone and start connecting with people and talking to people and joining groups. So I would suggest that people think about that. You know, go for it. I think that’s really important.” 


As Montepare makes this decision, she hopes that the work she has done both at Lasell and externally continues to grow and that students look forward to the future with the new director after her. 


“There are still a number of things in the works that I hope will excite students moving forward as we bring on a new director,” Montepare said. “I hope people will invite the new director to their classes and their clubs to talk about what they’re doing and to see what the new director is interested in doing and to make those connections.”

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