Zane E. Barnes, Class of 1947
Communications Industry Leader
Well-known for his leadership at Southwestern Bell Telephone Corporation, Zane E. Barnes began his career in the communications industry in his native Marietta, where he was employed as a telephone lineman for Ohio Bell Telephone Company. Persuaded by his uncle, W. Bay Irvine, Marietta College president from 1948 to 1963, Barnes enrolled at the College at the age of twenty. Barnes's academic career was postponed during World War II while he served his country as a naval officer.
After returning to Marietta and earning his degree in math and physics, Barnes again joined Ohio Bell, serving in a variety of positions before being named assistant vice president. Barnes continued to rise through the ranks and was named company president in 1970. Three years later, he became president of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company headquartered in St. Louis and a year later assumed the duties of chief executive officer, eventually becoming chairman and CEO with Southwestern Bell Corporation in 1983. Barnes was named Chairman Emeritus in 1990.
A community leader, Barnes has received numerous honors and awards including: the St. Louis Globe-Democrat Man of the Year, the construction industry's PRIDE Leadership Award, and honorary Doctorate of Laws degrees from Washington University, Oklahoma Christian College and his Alma Mater, Marietta College. Barnes is a former member of the Brookings Institute, the Coalition of CEOs, and a former board member of TARGET, which combats alcohol and drug abuse. Barnes was elected a Trustee of Marietta College in 1972, serving as Life Associate Trustee since 1977.