James Barnett

Jim Barnett B.B.A. ’68 and fiancée Carrie Harrow
'Cane Pride Leads to Charlotte 'Canes Community and an Endowed Scholarship

If you ask James Barnett, B.B.A. ’68, why he chose to travel to the University of Miami for college from blustery upstate New York, you’ll quickly understand why his pride in the U is so strong. “They gave me a second chance,” said Barnett. Having been accepted to every university that he initially applied for, including UM, he was pursuaded by his parents to stay closer to home to begin his college career. A few weeks into his first semester at Rider College in New Jersey, he decided that it wasn’t for him and returned home.

With his heart and his sights set on Miami, he was fortunate enough to receive a second acceptance, allowing him to find his way south to pursue his dreams. "I knew it was meant to be; not everyone gets a second chance as exciting as this one," Jim said. He began his journey as a proud 'Cane at the Miami Business School, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration, living on campus for his first year and fully immersed in all that the program offered.

After a successful career in sales and real estate, Jim’s 'Cane pride led to the creation of an endowed scholarship, the first of its kind, to support students enrolled in the undergraduate real estate program at Miami Business School, directed by Dr. Andrea Heuson.

“This scholarship has the potential to help increase professionalism in the real estate industry," Jim said. “Students will enter the workforce with more integrity and credibility from this degree.”

Along with his mother and his brother Arnold, the Barnetts had established the Joseph N. Barnett Scholarship Fund at Albany Law in memory of his father, and Jim decided to extend the gratitude and create an endowment at UM as well.

He established the James M. Barnett Endowed Scholarship at the Miami Business School to support a selected student in the real estate program, with preference given to those from either Mecklenburg County, NC or Montgomery County, NY.

Career in Business

After college, Jim began his career as a field advertising representative for Procter and Gamble, traveling throughout the United States, introducing new products for the company. After about a year, Jim was given an opportunity with General Mills as a sales representative working in the Pennsylvania market, focused on retail and wholesale accounts.

After almost seven years working for General Mills, Jim went on to a position with the Alberto Culver Company, where he continued in sales and sales management in the health and beauty aid field. This job would eventually bring him to Charlotte, NC, where he resides today.

During this time, Jim ventured out as an entrepreneur and opened Barnett and Associates, a manufacturing representative company focused on sporting goods, located in the Southeast United States.  

Coinciding with this move, Jim took the time to earn his real estate license. After three years of operating Barnett and Associates and dabbling in residential real estate, Jim knew that was his real calling was in real estate. He spent nearly 40 years in the field and excelled as a leader in his trade, ranking in the top three percent of Prudential Real Estate nationally.

'Canes Community Driven

Jim’s fondness for the University of Miami extended into North Carolina; in the fall of 2003, Jim founded the University of Miami’s Charlotte Alumni Club, or 'Canes Community, along with his close friend Mitch Richman. Jim used the printed UM Alumni Directory to locate 100 prospective 'Canes in the area and write them each a hand-written letter inviting them to get the club started. The community quickly grew to several hundred members in the first five years.

Under Jim’s leadership as president of the Charlotte 'Canes from 2003-2009, they became one of the top alumni communities for the University, with a full complement of programming including networking, game watch parties and traveling to cheer on our 'Canes! The Charlotte 'Canes received the prestigious PRIDE award twice, while donating to the University through T-shirt sales and other fundraising efforts.

Jim’s dedication to the University is just the beginning of his connection with his community. Both Jim and his fiancée, Carrie Harrow, spend much of their time volunteering at the Ronald MacDonald House, as the official birthday party planners, and Jim also sits on the board. Jim spends time at the Charlotte airport, guiding others to their destinations. When they are not too busy volunteering or spending time with their family, including four daughters, nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, Jim and Carrie love to travel.