BOONE, N.C. — The Freiman family has donated more than $2 million to Appalachian State University in support of An Appalachian Summer Festival and the University Libraries. The gifts were given in memory of Larry Freiman — who passed away in 2021 — by his wife, Barbara, and their children and grandchildren.
“The Freimans have been treasured friends and ardent supporters of App State for more than 30 years,” said Chancellor Sheri Everts. “Their passion for the arts and lifelong learning has enriched our university and the surrounding communities, and their legacy will continue to uplift and engage many future generations.”
Supporting the arts
The Freiman family donated more than $1 million to the Barbara and Larry Freiman Endowment for An Appalachian Summer Festival Programming.
“Barbara is a deeply admired member of the arts community and a long-standing supporter of An Appalachian Summer Festival, as was Larry before his passing,” said Denise Ringler, App State’s director of arts engagement and cultural resources. “These gifts represent the family’s desire to ensure arts access and quality of life for our entire region, and we are incredibly grateful for their generosity.”
The Freimans’ contributions have enabled the festival to reach its endowment fundraising goal of $5 million, which allows staff to focus on “maintaining affordable ticket pricing and the highest standards of artistic excellence,” according to Ringler.
In 2019, the Freimans were inducted into An Appalachian Summer Festival’s Founders Society, which recognizes “the people whose vision, generosity and hard work helped build An Appalachian Summer Festival,” Ringler said. Barbara is also a former member of An Appalachian Summer Festival’s Advisory Board.
The Freimans have long been involved with the arts in Western North Carolina. Larry, a lifelong violinist, played in the Western Piedmont Symphony in Hickory, and An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 2021 Broyhill Chamber Series was dedicated in his memory. Barbara served as president of The Community Music Club in Lenoir and as a board member of the Western Piedmont Symphony.
Expanding library resources and collaborative space
Nearly $1 million of the donated funds went to the Barbara and Larry Freiman Endowment for University Libraries and is designated to be used in the areas of greatest need, as determined by the dean of University Libraries.
“The Freiman family understands the critical role our University Libraries play in supporting the success of students, faculty and staff,” said University Libraries Dean Sue Polanka. “This significant contribution by the Freimans underscores the value of our work and allows us to continue to address the needs of our university community.”
App State’s University Libraries — Belk Library and Information Commons and Erneston Music Library — “provide equitable access to resources, guide students as they navigate the research and creation process and form collaborative partnerships across campus,” said Polanka.
The Freimans’ contribution will help create Belk Library’s makerspace, which combines and expands the library’s existing services: the Inspire Maker Lab and Idea Factory. The Inspire Maker Lab offers 3D printers, vinyl cutters, and electronics and robotics equipment. The Idea Factory, which is currently available to Reich College of Education students and faculty as well as North Carolina public school teachers, offers Ellison die cuts, lamination services, craft tools and a comb binder, among other equipment.
Construction of the 2,000-square-foot combined makerspace — which will be open to all App State students — began in May and is anticipated to be completed before the fall semester. The donated funds will be used for enhanced equipment, supplies and furnishings.
These latest gifts continue a strong legacy of support that the Freimans have built through decades of involvement with University Libraries. In 2015, Barbara and Larry established the Freiman Endowment for Library Student Employees. To date, six students have been awarded this scholarship, which they can renew annually during their time at App State. Additionally, Barbara has served on the Library Advisory Board for 25 years, and she contributed funds for a student-named group study room on the first floor of Belk Library, which became “Plato’s Cave.”
About the Freimans
Barbara and Larry, of Lenoir, who were married for 43 years, are members of App State’s 1899 Legacy Society, which is designated for those who have included the university in their estate plans.
An education advocate and fundraising consultant, Barbara previously served as executive director of the Foundation of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and served on the college’s TRIO Advisory Board. She also served on the board of directors at the Bank of Granite in Granite Falls.
Larry, a U.S. Army veteran, built a 38-year career with Broyhill Furniture Industries, retiring as vice president of national accounts in 2003. He served on the board of directors of the North Carolina Symphony and the Western Piedmont Symphony and on the advisory board of the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center. He was also a member of The Community Music Club of Lenoir.
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About An Appalachian Summer Festival
Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, An Appalachian Summer Festival is an annual celebration of the performing and visual arts held every July in venues across campus. The festival, which features an eclectic and diverse mix of music, dance, theater, visual arts and film programming, began in 1984 as a chamber music series and retains strong roots in classical music. It attracts 28,000 visitors to the High Country each year and has been named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. Learn more at https://appsummer.org.
About University Libraries
University Libraries at Appalachian State University contributes to the campus mission of learning, teaching, advancing knowledge, engagement and effectiveness. Belk Library and Information Commons along with the Nicholas Erneston Music Library provide academic resources for all students and faculty. Within the library, students and faculty find group and quiet study spaces, the Digital Media Studio, the inspire lab, the Idea Factory, digital devices to check out, and special collections such as the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection and Instructional Materials Center. Learn more at https://library.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.