George Barnes inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma

The Current, Summer 2003

Photo: (left to right) Naser Bodiya, Mary Higby, Kay Barnes, Bahman Mirshab and George Barnes at the Beta Gamma Sigma March 23 ceremony.




For the past three years, local business owner and University friend George Barnes, Jr., has donated $1,000 to Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) so that a University of Detroit Mercy student could attend the BGS Student Leadership Forum. Debuting in 2001, the forum brings together students from colleges and universities across the nation for a chance to improve their leadership skills by participating in team-building exercises, social activities and networking. Last fall marked the third consecutive year that UDM’s chapter of BGS has been selected as one of 75 out of 300 national chapters to participate in the forum.

At a ceremony on March 23, BGS recognized Barnes for his ongoing scholarship support by inducting him into its honor society. Barnes is the founder and owner of Heritage Optical Centers, Inc., which provides a vision contract to the University. He’s also the owner of the Traverse Group, an environmental engineering and consulting firm based in Ann Arbor. Barnes started that firm’s Detroit office and increased its number of African American employees by 25 percent. Heritage Optical Centers, Inc. and the Traverse Group are the largest African American-owned companies in Michigan.

Barnes is also an active member of the University community and has served on the Business Administration advisory board for seven years. His community involvement extends beyond UDM as an active supporter of the African American community. In 2002, he was co-chair of the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner, and was a contributor to the Coleman Young Foundation.