Her Eastern education was the springboard for a successful academic and social work career for Barbara Candales, who in 2008 decided to give back in a way that would honor the memory of her parents and fellow Latino and Latina students studying to become social workers.
That year she established the Arturo and Elba Candales Memorial Endowed Scholarship with a gift large enough to endow it on the spot. She has since made two more substantial gifts as other supportive alumni have helped build the scholarship fund even further. Her parents were “very grateful for the many opportunities and support provided at Eastern,” Candales said.
“The success of Latino students can be ensured by making graduation a reality,” said Candales. “A solid educational foundation will provide a competitive edge in employment and in life. Making a commitment to partner with Eastern by supporting the financial needs of Latino students is the greatest gift to future generations.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Applied Social Relations in 1974, Candales went on to earn a master’s degree in Social Work and Public Health and a Ph.D. in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut. She then launched a distinguished teaching career as a professor at UConn’s School of Social Work, a professor and program administrator at Tunxis Community College, and finally a professor and director of the Social Work program at Central Connecticut State University. She won a teaching award from Central in 2005 and was named Social Worker of the Year the following year by the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Since her retirement as an academic, Candales has become an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach (ACPEC), working with successful people to help them achieve even more in their careers and personal lives.
Candales chose to memorialize her parents in large part because of the contributions they made as leaders of the then fledgling Puerto Rican community in New London in the 1960s and 1970s. They worked to establish Nuestra Casa, the first Latino agency in New London to provide services to the emerging Latino community. It was that work which inspired Candales to enter the social work field.