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Psychology’s Richard Burright dies at age 69 and BU freshman killed in car crash

By : Ingrid Husisian

Richard Burright
Richard “Dick” Burright, professor emeritus of psychology, died November 29 at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City. He was 69.

Burright is survived by his wife of 46 years, Shirley; his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and the Rev. Roger Richards; a son, Scott; and a grandson, Zachary.

After earning his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois– Urbana, Burright began his career at Harpur College in 1963. He remained there until his retirement last year. For more than 25 years, Burright and his colleague, Professor Peter Donovick, researched neural, environmental, genetic, nutritive and life-span correlates of behavior related to the integration and use of sensory information in both brain-damaged and healthy organisms.

Burright and Donovick co-directed BU’s Environmental Neuropsychology Laboratory and sought to understand and implement preventive and rehabilitative efforts for victims of central nervous system damage. Through their research, they established working relationships with psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, MRI and sleep specialists in the local medical community.

Among his many affiliations, Burright was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Society, the Behavior Genetics Association, the New York Academy of Science and Sigma Xi. He was also a Hinman Fellow from 1989 to 1992.

Burright taught thousands of students during his tenure, in courses ranging from introductory to graduate seminars. He taught undergraduate and graduate research design and statistics, sensation and perception, history and seminars in biological rhythms. He frequently worked with students in his laboratory and collaborated with them in scholarly publications. Albrecht Inhoff, professor and chair of psychology, said Burright was very dedicated to his department, his research and students.

“He gave his time freely and he served the department in many ways, with the teaching of large classes, with committee memberships, with his steady presence at almost each and every departmental function,” Inhoff said.

Norman “Skip” Spear, distinguished professor of psychology, admired Burright’s intelligence and humility. “I thought he was one of the smartest guys among my colleagues and the least pretentious, which I thought was the best possible combination,” he said. “Dick Burright was one of those faculty who made Harpur College special,” said Richard Pastore, professor of psychology and linguistics. “He always had time for students and faculty colleagues, not only tactfully providing them with answers to their questions, but also to the questions they should have asked. He was easy to like and was appreciated by all. He had an excellent sense of humor and his laugh was contagious.”

“Dick was a good friend and colleague and an influential figure on this campus for many years. We miss him already,” said Harpur College Dean Jean-Pierre Mileur.

BU freshman killed in car crash

Binghamton University freshman Trevor Corde, 18, was killed Saturday, November 29, when the car he was riding in swerved into the oncoming lane and hit a pick-up truck. Corde, from North Salem, was a member of the North Salem Volunteer Fire Department and played varsity lacrosse for John F. Kennedy High School in Somers. A psychology major, Corde was a resident of Mohawk Hall. A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, December 4, at St. Joseph’s Church, Croton Falls. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Ridgefield, Conn. Directions to St. Joseph’s Church may be obtained from Elaine Rapaport at 777-4787.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08