- IUAA President's Award (2021)
- Bicentennial Medal (2019)
Barlow is a professional artist and arts educator who earned his bachelor's degree in fine arts from IU in 1985. While at IU, he was involved with the IU Soul Revue and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He furthered his education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a master's in 1987. Barlow has also studied in Florence, Italy and the West Indies. He is currently an instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Michael Barlow's formal volunteer path with the Alumni Association began when he was elected at-large member of the Executive Council in 2005. He served three years and then began his tenure on the Board of Managers which culminated in his chairmanship in 2011. He led the Association during a period of transition to the then-new CEO, J T. Forbes. Always available for networking, assisting students, and giving back, he has served on the Chicago Advancement Advisory Council and has been active in the Neal Marshall alumni activities for numerous years, particularly during Homecoming Weekends where he has spoken and served on a panel with other alumni. His position as a painter and art educator is also a source of inspiration and motivation to aspiring artists, and he's never shy to share this inspiration and love of IU with others.