Laurier mourns Professor Barry Kay

The Wilfrid Laurier University community is deeply saddened by the passing of Barry Kay, associate professor in the Department of Political Science.

Dr. Kay joined Laurier in 1978. He touched the lives of thousands of students and colleagues during his 41 years at the university, and was much beloved by them. His contributions to the Political Science Department and the university are treasured by his colleagues. He was named a “Legend of Laurier” in 2016.

Dr. Kay was a respected scholar and media commentator on politics at both the federal and provincial levels in Canada and in the United States, including federal election coverage on Global News. Kay authored or co-authored more than 40 academic articles and book chapters. In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Kay wrote hundreds of newspaper opinion articles and was frequently interviewed by journalists across Canada and the U.S. Among his many activities, he was an active member of the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP) and developed a widely consulted seat-projection model based on electoral data and polls. He was instrumental in helping many Laurier alumni launch their careers in this and other fields.

“Barry’s passing is very sad news,” said Darrell Bricker, a former student and current CEO of IPSOS Public Affairs. “His influence on political research in Canada is undeniable. He taught many of us at IPSOS, including me, the skills we use every day. Not only was Barry an amazing teacher and scholar, he was a true mensch. I will miss him very much.”

Dr. Kay was born in Toronto and has degrees from McMaster University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Rochester. Before arriving at Laurier, he taught at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Windsor.

Dr. Kay is survived by his beloved wife, Betty Leventhal.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. 

Richard Nemesvari, Dean of the Faculty of Arts