Beloved member of staff Athena Barrett retires after 35 Years at London Met

Much-loved colleague leaves a legacy of dedication and compassion that will continue to inspire staff and students alike.

Date: 23 June 2023

Athena Barrett, a figure synonymous with London Metropolitan University, retired today after 35 years of dedicated service. She will be missed by colleagues and students alike, having served the institution in various roles. 

Athena began her journey with the organisation at the Polytechnic of North London – one of London Met’s predecessor organisations – in June 1988. Throughout her career, she has worked in multiple roles, demonstrating her versatility. Her most recent role, as Communications Officer, allowed her to channel her expertise and experience to support students and staff, making her an indispensable part of the University's ecosystem. 

"Athena is the living embodiment of the values, commitment and passion of the London Met community,” commented Ben Sawtell, the University’s Head of Communications. “She has touched many lives here, not just through her work, but through her kindness and immense support to everyone around her.  

“She’s a very talented practitioner and has made a huge impact on the quality of our communications thanks to her excellent writing, creativity, eye for detail, and knowledge of the University. She will be deeply missed, but I know she has lots of exciting plans for the future." 

A highly skilled operator 

As Communications Officer, Athena skilfully managed to bridge the gap between the administration, academics, and students, ensuring a smooth and transparent flow of information. Her dedication towards her work, combined with her innate ability to connect with people, made her a much-loved figure within the University. 

Colleagues remember Athena for her warmth, her attention to detail, and her unwavering commitment to the University and its students. Kelly Cooper, Head of the School of Social Sciences and Professions, said "I’ve had the privilege of working with Athena for many years. In all of her actions and words she exudes, a love of, and commitment to London Met which is infectious. You cannot walk away from an interaction with Athena without a big smile on your face and an increased sense of pride in being part of London Met. 

“When I think of Athena, her care and commitment to our students, and her appreciation and championing of her colleagues, always comes to mind. But so too does a sense of fun, laughter and positivity. She has been a wonderful colleague to work with and an absolute asset to London Met.” 

A lasting legacy 

There have been many changes at the University during her time at the University and Athena has invariably played an important role, either as an Executive Assistant to senior members of staff, or as a communications expert.  

As Athena steps into a well-deserved retirement, her legacy will remain. While the campus will miss her physical presence, the mark she leaves behind will continue to inspire, reminding everyone of the value of dedication, perseverance, and, most importantly, the power of genuine connection. 

A portrait picture of Athena Barrett