A $500,000 gift to Illinois State University from Barbara Efaw ’59 and family will help establish a new success center for education students. The center, which will be named the Barbara and Larry Efaw Center for Educator Excellence, is scheduled to open in the spring in DeGarmo Hall.

Barbara and her late husband, Larry Efaw ’56, M.S. ’59, have supported the University since graduating from Illinois State Normal University. Barbara earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and Larry graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business teacher education.

“My husband was very fond of saying all his life, ‘I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for ISU,’” Barbara said. The Efaws have been inspired to give students the access to a successful education that Larry experienced as a first-generation college student. The Larry and Barbara Efaw Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2004.

Junior elementary education major Erica Bobrowski was a scholarship recipient. “The scholarship allowed me to focus more on my learning and future goals,” Bobrowski said, noting the support relieved her of financial stress.

The goal of the Barbara and Larry Efaw Center for Educator Excellence is to assist even more students. “We’re incredibly honored to receive the Efaws’ gift. It will make a tremendous impact on future Redbird educators for many years,” said College of Education Dean Dr. James Wolfinger.

David Efaw, son of Barbara and Larry, knows his father would be proud of the legacy that the family has created at Illinois State University. “My father was so appreciative of everything that he earned,” David said. “My parents always believed in giving back.”