From the home he shares with his wife, Carole, Edward “Ned” Barrett sees the stunning Golden Gate Bridge and the jagged knot of Alcatraz. Just off the shore, at the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the 1958 Lowell State graduate also enjoyed a stellar view of the 2013 America’s Cup competition when the American squad staged a come-from-behind win.
Lowell native Barrett has ties to UMass Lowell that are long and firm. When he graduated, he had the rare opportunity of sharing the stage with his own mother, who had earned a teaching certificate from Lowell Normal School in 1926, and returned to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Lowell State in 1958.
A generous alumni donor, and chair to the Advisory Board for the Graduate School of Education, Barrett is forever thankful to his late mother for providing him an educational rudder. He has, like his mother, been a classroom teacher. After graduation, he taught sixth grade in Chelmsford.
“To my mother, education was paramount,” says Barrett, who spent a year at Boston University following his 1954 Lowell High School graduation. When an interest in teaching blossomed, he transferred to his native Lowell. “I figured there’s already a teacher’s college here (in Lowell). A good one. It was an awakening,” he says.
In 1962, he met Carole while he waited tables in a Cape Cod restaurant to supplement his school-year salary. They married in August 1963 and had two children, Susan and Edward Jr. Barrett finally left both the Mill City and education in 1967 for a position in textbook sales. He ascended from regional sales to the top echelons. In 2013, he retired as president of the publishing company Chandler & Sharp.
“You’re ready for anything when you leave UMass Lowell,” says Barrett. “And you left Lowell State prepared and able to succeed anywhere in the country.” He would eventually earn his master’s in education from Salem State and his MBA from Suffolk University.
Upon his mother’s passing in 1989, Barrett says his family suffered “a big, big loss. We were looking for a way to remember her.” Accordingly, they established the UMass Lowell Margaret Holland Barrett Teaching Scholarship.
In retirement Barrett greatly enjoys his five grandchildren. In fact, he adds, one, a budding engineer, has applied to UMass Lowell. He chuckles at the thought of seeing his grandson graduate from the same college. “That would be a happy sight,” he says.