SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Athletics Director Mark Massari announced Friday the naming of the academics and student-athlete support wing of the Intercollegiate Athletics Building in honor of Jim and Cheryl Barber.
A generous Enhancement Gift, given anonymously to the university for athletics, is valued at approximately a half million dollars and will bestow the name Barber Academic & Student Success Center on the area that serves all 500 student-athletes and 20 programs daily. Gaucho athletes currently hold the second highest NCAA graduation rate in the prestigious U.C. system.
The gift honors UCSB alum Jim Barber (’67 Mathematics), football letter winner and Vietnam veteran who has lived with the progressive neurodegenerative disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) since 2006, and his wife Cheryl (’66 Physical Education).
“Like Jim, Cheryl and many of our alumni, as a Gaucho, you can be a scholar, an athlete and a success in every area of life,” Massari said. “The Barber's epitomize this and I'm so excited that the area that serves our student-athletes academically and the services we provide to ensure they are successful as people as well, will honor them. The true beauty of the gift allows us to keep a legacy of Gauchos connected while assisting our mission to provide additional resources necessary for future student-athletes.”
Jim, a retired attorney (‘73 Hastings College of the Law), collaborated closely with the ALS Association's Greater Bay Area Chapter in helping to initiate the passage of two important state laws that assist Californians living with what is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Jim was honored with the prestigious 2010 Iron Horse Award at the ALS Association and serves on the Association’s California ALS Advocacy Committee (CAAC) which helped to advance the passage of SB 1502 and SB 1503. Jim and Cheryl were selected to stand on the field with other ALS families at the Giants’ AT&T Park in San Francisco on July 4th, 2009 for the MLB’s 4ALS presentation.
Jim is a former member of the Board of Directors of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association and a founding member of the athletics alumni letter winners’ board (now called The Gaucho Order). In June 2008, he was awarded the Graver Alumni Service Award for his work on the alumni board, most notably the initiation of the All Gaucho Reunion.
Prior to Jim's ALS diagnosis, Cheryl was Director of the Active Reading Clinic in Walnut Creek. She was also a Teacher and Teacher Trainer of the Reading Revolution method, a multi-sensory, multi-intelligence approach to reading. Cheryl retired from the reading clinic to become Jim's primary caregiver.
When not spreading awareness of ALS, advocating for others who live with Lou Gehrig’s Disease or supporting today’s Gaucho student-athletes, Jim and Cheryl enjoy spending time with their two children, their spouses and three grandchildren.
Each year Gaucho student-athletes are supported to honor Jim, Cheryl and the legacy of football through the Gaucho Fund, UCSB Athletics’ annual giving program.