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Dr. William Mike Barnes stands at a podium speaking into a mic for a gathering of people.
Dr. William Mike Barnes speaks during the department’s naming commemoration event. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Dr. William (Wm) Mike Barnes ’64 passed away on Feb. 24, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of generosity and leadership.

In 2020, Barnes and his wife, Sugar, established a major endowment to support the general operations of the department, and in recognition, the department was named the Wm Michael Barnes’ 64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“His dedication and support will impact and continue in perpetuity through the incredibly generous gift he made to our department,” said Dr. Lewis Ntaimo, department head. “Faculty, staff and current, former and future students will benefit from his magnanimity.”

Barnes received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering and his doctoral degree in operations research, all from Texas A&M University. He was the second doctoral graduate from the industrial and systems engineering department in 1968. As a student, Barnes served as president of Alpha Pi Mu and has been a member of Tau Beta Pi since 1964. 

Early in his career, Barnes represented Texas A&M as an expert consultant to the assistant postmaster general in Washington, D.C., and was an instructor of maintainability engineering at Red River Army Depot. He began his corporate career at Rockwell International, where he worked for 33 years, becoming senior vice president and chief financial officer. During his tenure at Rockwell, he was awarded the Leonardo da Vinci Annual Award, given to an outstanding engineer working at Rockwell. After his retirement in 2001, Barnes served on the board of four New York Stock Exchange-listed companies.

His accomplishments resulted in him being named a distinguished alumnus by Texas A&M and The Association of Former Students for excellence in the profession of industrial and systems engineering and his contributions to the university. This is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student. In 2009, the Texas Council of Industrial Engineering Department Heads awarded Barnes its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is survived by his wife, Sugar, son, Wm Bradley ’90, and two grandsons.