Austin Dunham Barney II, known to friends and colleagues as “Dunny,” died on Friday, June 22.
Barney was a former University regent (1980-86 and 1994-2003) and a passionate supporter of the Hartford Art School. He was a longtime member of the Hartford Art School (HAS) Inc. Board of Trustees, and served twice as the board president. Barney’s family has a long history of involvement in the University of Hartford; the University’s Barney School of Business is named for his uncle.
“Dunny continued the great tradition of his family's involvement with the University, which they helped found and shape,” said University President Walter Harrison. “I will miss his humor, his wisdom, and—most of all—his friendship.”
Among Barney’s many contributions to the University and the Hartford Art School was his service on the search committee that recruited Power Boothe as dean of the art school. “I know he was justly proud of that search,” Harrison said.
Boothe, who served as dean of the Hartford Art School from 2001 to 2010, said: "Dunny Barney had a big, big heart. He loved his family, he was loyal to his friends, and he cared deeply about the students of the Hartford Art School.
“It was an honor to serve as dean while he was board president,” Boothe continued. “He worked tirelessly and passionately to ensure that the art school would become the preeminent art school in the region. I miss him. The world is poorer because of his death. The Hartford Art School owes an incalculable debt to Dunny Barney."
Louise McCormick, a former regent and current member of the HAS, Inc. Board of Trustees who served as its president from 2003 to 2008, said: “As two-time president of Hartford Art School, Inc., Dunny Barney provided many years of support and leadership. His love and enthusiasm for the Hartford Art School were unsurpassed.”
Born April 27, 1945 in Hartford, Barney graduated from Yale University with a BA in international politics and Russian affairs, and earned a Master of Public Administration in urban studies, regional planning and public management from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. He had a long and varied career that included positions with the City of Hartford, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Cigna Corporation, Farmvest (founder and president), Life Legacy Advisors LLC (founder and president), and numerous other organizations.
Barney had a long history of public service, including 34 years as a member of the Simsbury Zoning Commission and many other leadership roles in the town of Simsbury, where he resided for 36 years. He is survived by his wife, Michelle L. Spencer; his son, Austin Cornelius Dunham Barney III; his daughter, Amanda Brandegee Barney; his stepchildren, Colin, Martha, and Mallory Spencer; and his four half-siblings.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 30, at First Church of Christ, Congregational, 75 Main Street, Farmington. A reception will follow at noon at Miss Porter's School, across the street from the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Farm of Simsbury, 73 Wolcott Road, Simsbury, CT 06070, and The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut Chapter, 55 Church Street, Floor 3, New Haven, CT 06510-3029.
Read Barney's obituary in the Hartford Courant, and leave online condolences.