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Innovative business leader Glenn Barrett of OrthoLite to speak at Commencement

A business leader whose visionary thinking has earned him global acclaim for excellence in his industry, Glenn Barrett '71 is being welcomed back to campus as BW's Spring Commencement speaker.

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Barrett is the founder and CEO of OrthoLite, Inc., the global leader of branded, high-performance, comfort footwear products. As the keynote speaker, Barrett will address approximately 615 undergraduate and graduate students and their families at the 174th Commencement Ceremony in Ursprung Gymnasium (Lou Higgins Recreation Center) at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.

Trailblazer who revolutionized an industry

Barrett founded OrthoLite 27 years ago. His visionary approach to problem-solving sparked a new way of addressing footwear. He introduced an open-cell polyurethane foam insole technology that revolutionized the industry and made OrthoLite a global leader and trusted source of products whose focus on comfort, performance and environmental sustainability earned him global acclaim.

Today, the company's products can be found in more than 600 million shoes a year in footwear brands that include Adidas, Altra, Asics, Brooks, Clarks, Converse, Danner, ECCO, Fendi, HOKA, Hugo Boss, Justin, New Balance, Nike, On, Reebok, Rothy's, Salomon, Skechers, The North Face, Timberland, Toms, Under Armour and Vans.

His multifold and deep contributions to the industry recently earned him honors as one of four 2024 inductees into the National Sporting Goods Association Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognition gives tribute to the outstanding accomplishments of sporting goods pioneers, innovators and leaders in the industry.

Advocate for others

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Glenn and Midge Barrett

Barrett is a longtime supporter and Board of Directors member of the non-profit Two Ten Footwear Foundation, a national organization that helps people in the footwear industry with professional development and assistance if they are going through hardships or crises. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Barretts provided financial support to the organization to ensure Two Ten could provide as much emergency relief to the footwear industry as possible. In 2022, he received the organization's A.A. Bloom Award in recognition of his ongoing contributions to Two Ten through initiatives, hard work, dedication and unselfish actions.

YJ4L couple who met at BW

Born in Chappaqua, New York, Barrett majored in political science at BW and was president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in December 1971. He met his wife, Mildred “Midge,” a Pittsburgh native who attended BW as part of the Class of 1972, while on campus, and the two married later that year. They went on to have three children: Ashley, John Robert and Nicholas. Over the years, the couple has remained loyal and generous Yellow Jackets for Life.

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