The University of Wisconsin – Madison has announced a $10 million gift from alumni Tom ('80) and Karen Falk ('80) in support of need-based scholarships and endowed faculty positions.
A combination of an immediate, outright gift and a bequest, the donation will fund two scholarship funds focused on students from underrepresented groups enrolled at the schools from which the Falks graduated — the Karen A. Falk Diversity Scholarship Fund in Education, which will support students at UW's School of Education, and the Thomas J. Falk Diversity Scholarship in the Wisconsin School of Business. The gift also will endow the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education and the Thomas J. Falk Distinguished Chair in Business.
"We know education and business are going to change over a long period of time," said Tom Falk, "and we hope these gifts will give flexibility to the university and the deans of the schools and colleges we were involved in to apply them where the emphasis needs to be."
Karen Falk, who put herself through college working in a drugstore while living in a low-cost women's cooperative, has since taught and volunteered in public schools. After earning a degree in accounting on a full scholarship, Tom Falk has worked for more than thirty years at Kimberly-Clark,including more than a decade as CEO.
"It's really important for children to have role models who look like them or have similar backgrounds to them," said Karen Falk. "We want to help take those fabulous students and make sure they can actually afford to complete an education."