Curtis H.HankBarnette has served U.S. presidents, governors, major corporations and leading universities, but its for his meritorious service to West Virginia University that he was recognized as chairman emeritus of the WVU Board of Governors (BOG). The honor was bestowed by BOG Chairman Steve Goodwin.
Barnettes term on the Universitys governing body will come to an end June 30, and with it comes reflection of a man whose legacy has impacted the University for over 50 years.
His distinguished history with the University began in the mid-1950s as an undergraduate and continues to the present day with his work with the BOG and WVU Foundation, and as chairman of the committee heading the national search for a vice president of WVU Health Sciences.
In 1993, he was honored with induction into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni, one of the highest honors for graduates of the University.
Any achievements that have resulted are the achievements of the University,Barnette said.The opportunity for me has been to be a part of the advising and governing boards and working with presidents (David) Hardesty and (Mike) Garrison, members of the board and the students, faculty, staff and alumni of WVU .
One of the original appointees to the WVU advisory board, after its creation by Gov. Cecil Underwood in 2001, Barnette continued that appointment to the subsequent governing body, the BOG , under Gov. Bob Wise. He served as chairman of the group from 2002-04.
Barnette continues to be active on the WVU Foundation Board of Directors where he has served continuously since 1987, assuming the role of chairman from 1991-93.
The University owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Barnette and the many years of service he has provided WVU ,Garrison said.He has been an integral part in the growth and success of the University over the years, and we are thankful for his ongoing commitment and dedication to the institution.
Hardesty, WVU president emeritus, said Barnette accomplished great things in law and business after graduating from WVU .
His contributions during my tenure as president were many and varied, and I will remember him as a hardworking trustee and a University donor who wasvery interested in the progress of the University,Hardesty said.His advice was always seasoned with experience and a deep love for WVU .He and his lifelong partner, Joanne, have also made substantial and lasting contributions to many educational and charitable causes.
Barnettes long history with WVU began in 1952, when as a St. Albans High School graduate, he received a Benedum Scholarship to attend the University. Prior to graduating in 1956 with a bachelors degree in political science, he served the student body as president and as a cadet colonel in the ROTC . He was also a member of Mountain and Phi Beta Kappa.
He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and in 1956, he began studying international law at Manchester University in England. After working as a counterintelligence officer for the U.S. Army, he entered Yale Law School where he earned his juris doctor degree in 1962. Soon after, he joined a law firm where he worked until joining the Bethlehem Steel Corp. as an attorney in 1967. He later attended the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.
During his 33-year career at Bethlehem Steel, he served in numerous positions including secretary and assistant vice president. In 1977, he was promoted to vice president of law and general counsel, and in 1985, he was elected senior vice president and director. In 1992, Barnette became chairman and chief executive officer of the company.
In 2000, he joined the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher and Flom, LLP , where he continues to focus on corporate law, international trade and public policy.
His illustrious career has included appointments to committees and commissions for four U.S. presidents, the U.S. secretary of labor and a governor of Pennsylvania. In addition, he has served on the boards of MetLife, Metropolitan Life and Owens Corning as well as the advisory boards for Norfolk Southern and the New York Stock Exchange.
He is a Comenius Professor and trustee at Moravian College and former trustee of Lehigh University, and he recently completed a term as chairman of the Yale Law School Fund Board.
Barnette says that his support of the University comes from a deep appreciation of the opportunities the University has provided.
My wife, Joanne Harner-Barnette, and I met at WVU , and our support is a continuing expression of the appreciation to WVU for all that it has meant to us,he said.Its very clear that if not for the guidance, support and education we had at WVU , the opportunities that we have experienced just would have never been possible.
That appreciation has also resulted in the establishment of the Barnette Professorship in Political Science, a law school scholarship honoring his wifes parents and an arts and sciences scholarship program for students from St. Albans High School interested in attending WVU . Barnette has also been responsible for the establishment of scholarships at other colleges and universities that provide a first preference for WVU graduates and a BOG conference room in the new alumni center.