Grand Valley celebrates the life of Christos T. Panopoulos, business and community leader

Leaders at Grand Valley State University and in West Michigan are celebrating the life of Christos T. Panopoulos, a Grand Valley University Foundation director. He died April 5 at age 86.

Panopoulos, who served on the GVU Foundation for more than two decades, was a longtime supporter of the university along with his wife, Joan. Their generosity with scholarships at Grand Valley has made a difference for countless students over the years.

“Foundation directors like Chris have been instrumental in our ability to help engage students with our community and fill the ever-changing need for talent. Chris was particularly mindful of his role as a connector between the university and West Michigan, and was always there to help when we needed him,” said President Philomena V. Mantella. 

Chris and Joan Panopoulos smile as they pose for a photo.
Christos and Joan Panopoulos

Chris and Joan initiated the Joan A. Panopoulos Scholarship, which is awarded to Grand Rapids Public Schools students who have participated in the TRIO Upward Bound program. Additionally, they initiated the Christos T. and Joan A. Panopoulos Physician Assistant Studies Scholarship, which supports Grand Valley students studying in that field.

They also supported many capital projects, including Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons and Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. In recognition of their generous gifts, several spaces have been named in these buildings.

In 2016, Panopoulos was recognized with an honorary Doctorate of Business Degree from GVSU. 

“Our hearts go out to Joan and the Panopoulos family on their loss. It is truly a loss for our community and this university as well. Chris was a dedicated supporter of both Grand Valley students and West Michigan and he will be deeply missed,” said Laura Aikens, vice president for University Development.