y A simple thing; big returns y
photos by steve exum
Dr. Ralph L. Falls Sr. ( above); Mr. Ralph L. Falls Jr. (top ).
If you’re interested in creating
your Carolina legacy, please
contact Candace Clark,
associate director of planned
giving, at 919-962-3967
Most often, the term “investment” refers to money. But at its most basic, investing is about
building a better future.
Although he may not have realized it at the time, that’s what Dr. Ralph L. Falls Sr., a
Morganton dentist and farmer, was doing when he started sending his son to work in the fields
back in the early 1950s.
“My dad stuck me every summer working on his farm,” remembered Ralph Falls Jr. “I worked
from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. I made 30 cents an hour.”
The father’s goal was surely to strengthen the son’s character, and to show him how hard farm
work could be. “I was afraid not to graduate from college,” Falls Jr. said.
Graduate he did, from UNC’s business school (now called UNC Kenan-Flagler) in 1963. Falls
Jr. went on to a successful career in the medical industry, first as the founder of Charter Medical
Corp. and then owner and CEO of the medical supply company Roane Barker Inc.
Now, to honor his father, Falls Jr. has created and named a monetary prize to benefit MBA
students at UNC Kenan-Flagler. He has committed an annual outright gift to support the award
for the next 10 years. Through a bequest in his will, the prize will be fully endowed upon his
death and support students in perpetuity.
The Falls Prize will be awarded to up to six outstanding MBA students with full fellowships.
Recipients will receive a $25,000 stipend over two years.
The prize will be awarded to students demonstrating the highest potential for leadership, superior
academic achievement and a diversity of lifetime experiences. Falls Jr. hopes that The Falls Prize
will help Kenan-Flagler attract the most promising students.
“To my knowledge, this type of prize has never been done before,” Falls said. “I want to
compensate students for their performance, leadership abilities and character, because students
who embody those things are tremendous assets to Carolina.”
So Falls Sr. will continue to have an impact—even on people he never lived to meet. And Falls
Jr. looks forward to seeing the fruits of his own investment.
“For $150,000 a year, I feel that it will attract six students of the very highest caliber—students
that might not have otherwise been attracted to UNC,” he said. “That makes me think we will
have accomplished something great for a very few dollars. It should have a huge return.”