Jack Barnett, a 1954 graduate of Lehigh University, majored in business, and received a full scholarship at Lehigh. As a student, he was elected to the Phi Eta Sigma honor society, joined the Accounting and Newtonian Societies, and was president of Tau Delta Phi fraternity.
Following his graduation, he worked in the pension department of Hallgarten. In 1964, he joined First Manhattan, eventually becoming General Partner. The Institute of Chartered Analysts conferred upon him the professional designation of Chartered Financial Analyst. He maintained a life-long connection with Lehigh, serving on the University's Trustees' Finance Committee which manages Lehigh's endowment. In 1967, he established the Jack Barnett Scholarship so Lehigh students could benefit from financial aid as he did. Lehigh’s Office of Financial Aid building was officially named the “Barnett House” in 1995. Barnett passed away in 1979 at the age of 46 after suffering a heart attack while vacationing in Florida.
Barnett's goal in life was not to make money, but to pursue excellence and provide help to people crossing his path. Some of his best friends were doctors. He was aware of the latest medical research, particularly in the field of heart and kidney diseases and made large contributions to research funds or hospital equipment. The first stress test equipment installed in Phelps Memorial Hospital (Tarrytown) was donated by Barnett. He was a very humble and private person, had a heart of gold, was compassionate, and never sought his own glory.