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University Names Engineering Building for Esteemed Alum

Barry Perry ’68 Advances Research, Innovation Efforts

Barry Perry and family with Plastics Engineering students
Barry Perry ’68, joined by his wife Janice, daughter Kimberly Perry, granddaughters Alix Perry Madden and Chase Madden Perry, and son-in-law Brian Madden, celebrate the re-dedication of the UMass Lowell Engineering Building with Plastics Engineering students, faculty and staff.

By Nancy Cicco

UMass Lowell’s Engineering Building – which for 60 years has enjoyed a strong identity as a center for scientific discovery – finally has a name, recognizing a distinguished alumnus and generous benefactor whose latest gift to the university totals $1.25 million.

As Perry Hall, named in tribute to Barry Perry, Class of 1968, the building will carry forward for future generations its storied history and rich reputation for cutting-edge research and excellence in engineering education, as well as industry collaboration.

“Since 1952, this building has been at the forefront of innovation and industry in Lowell, first as a laboratory and classroom space for students in the paper and leather engineering fields, and later, in chemical engineering and biomanufacturing,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “Today, we celebrate a new beginning. Under the Perry Hall name, the building will be a catalyst for student achievement in engineering and fields we can only yet imagine.”

The naming ceremony took place at the building on the university’s North Campus. Speakers included Meehan; John Ting, dean of UMass Lowell’s Francis College of Engineering; and Assistant Vice Chancellor John Davis, Office of University Advancement. 

Perry, who grew up in Dartmouth and now lives in Newtown, Pa., began his career at General Electric and retired in 2006 as the chairman and chief executive officer of New Jersey-based Engelhard Corp., a chemical and metals company. His career spanned three decades and three continents. He credits much of his success to the education he received while earning his bachelor of science degree in plastics engineering at what was then Lowell Technological Institute. 

Perry’s latest gift to the university will enable UMass Lowell to make improvements to Perry Hall and to build the Perry Atrium inside the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center now under construction on North Campus, and will increase the Barry W. Perry Plastics Engineering Endowment Fund, established nearly seven years ago.

“My parents didn’t have much but they gave me everything they could. One of those gifts was a strong work ethic. That, along with the financial aid I got is what made the difference for me,” Perry said. “So that’s all I’m aiming to do – to give some kids who are willing to work hard but don’t have the financial resources the same advantage I had.” 

A member of the Chancellor’s Circle of Distinction, Perry received the Distinguished Alumni award in 2006 and helped the university’s Plastics Engineering Department raise more than $11 million from 2003 to 2005. Now retired, he is married to Janice Perry, his high school sweetheart and a former student at Lowell State College, another of UMass Lowell’s predecessor institutions.