We are so sad to share with you that LaRay Barna passed away Saturday morning, October 16, 2010, a few weeks after her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. We are profoundly at a loss for words to say all that could be said about this simply magnificent woman who has been a part of all of our lives, both personally and professionally.
Some of you may know her as the woman who taught the first class ever in intercultural communication, convincing the dean that the international students needed such an unheard of thing. Others of you may know her writings on culture shock and stumbling blocks. Some may know her as our lovely colleague at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC), whose witty annual riff on aging was the highlight of SIIC openings. Some of you may have been guided by her insightful career counseling or received her detailed and gracious comments on your graduate school papers. If you were a SIIC intern, she has memorized your resume! And many of you may be doing what you are doing partly in response to LaRay's inspiration.
Whatever your connection, know that we have lost a pioneer in our field, a woman who created pathways where none existed before, and a friend who was there for us over the decades. She is truly loved and we will miss her dearly.
LaRay's granddaughter Carin, daughter of Shari Barna, has suggested that as a dedicated educator, LaRay would appreciate a scholarship fund in her name for SIIC. We are honored to be able to do this. For those of you who wish to participate in this form of celebrating her memory, we have started a special fund in her name, and donations can be sent to ICI to the LaRay Barna Scholarship Fund, or through PayPal.
Our intercultural community shares the spirit of LaRay during times when such a spirit is most needed in the world, and when she will be most sorely missed. We send her family our wishes for peace, and our certainty that LaRay is among us.