Director of Development for Diversity and Engagement
Written by Tawana Bain | Photo submitted by Valerie Combs
Valerie Combs is Director of Development for Diversity and Engagement at University of Louisville, where she leads the philanthropic support for diversity initiative units on campus. She is a former star women’s basketball player. She attended Butler High School where she led her team to the State Championship twice. Ranked the No. 2 women’s basketball player in Kentucky, in 1976 she was the recipient of one of the first full scholarships given to women by UofL.
Valerie was a member of the 1980 women’s basketball team that won the Metro Conference championship. She graduated from UofL in 1981, holding the title of the first 1,000-point scorer in the school’s history. She is a Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Famer and a 1998 inductee in the Louisville Athletics Hall of Fame.
Valerie has served as the Director of Development for the Louisville Cardinals Athletic Fund. She has also been President of the L-Club (Letter winners). In 2022 she was a recipient of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) UNITE Award, which was created to honor individuals affiliated with the league who have made an impact in the areas of racial and social justice.
Valerie’s illustrious career includes working as a flight attendant and being a total quality management business owner/partner in ventures serving the Louisville community.
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Eta Omega Chapter. She is also the proud mother of one daughter, GiaVanna Mirah-Faye Combs, whom she calls her pride and joy. Valerie is excited to watch GiaVanna walk across the stage in Somerset, Kentucky as a representative of “Old Louisville” in the Miss Kentucky Pageant February 24-25, 2023.