Chris Barbee '88 smiling in front of a Levine Museum of the New South sign

Chris Barbee ’88

2023 Outstanding Staff Award Recipient

Chris Barbee has made a significant impact on the lives of countless Lakers.

Barbee graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting in 1988. The Monday after graduation, he started his career at West Michigan Public Broadcasting as a news and sports reporter for WGVU-AM/FM and as a producer/host of Grand Valley Sports for WGVU-WGVK-TV.

In 1994, he took a new role as press secretary to U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers in Washington, D.C. In 2002, Barbee returned to Grand Valley to serve as the director of GVSU Alumni Relations. During two decades as director, Barbee oversaw the development of innovative alumni events and programs including, “Paving the Way for Future Generations: Stories of African Americans Who Were Firsts at Grand Valley,” which won a 2019 Circle of Excellence Award from CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Chris Barbee with fellow alumni tailgating
Chris Barbee speaks with an fellow alum in the alumni house

At GVSU, Barbee served as co-chair of the Dads Network and as chair of the Michigan Association of State Universities Alumni Directors Committee. In 2014, he was named “Father of the Year” by the Father’s Day Council which honors fathers who have been able to successfully balance their careers and personal lives, while serving as role models for their children and making a positive impact in their community. In 2019, Barbee received the Presidential Appreciation Award from President Emeritus Thomas J. Haas. Barbee has served as a board member for the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan and spent 14 years volunteering at the Michigan Special Olympics State Summer Games.

In 2021, Barbee moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to begin a new position at Levine Museum of the New South as the director of development. Barbee and his wife, Janice, have been married for 23 years. Their wedding reception was the first to be held in the GVSU Alumni House in September 2000. They are the proud parents of two daughters, Maya and Janelle.

Chris Barbee Spotlight Video

Chris Barbee spotlight video

For more information about the GVSU Alumni Awards, visit

Page last modified November 3, 2023