A Lifetime of Difference
Throughout their lives, James Faller, EG62M, 67PhD, and Catherine Eliades Faller, EHD58, have witnessed much history. Now, through their philanthropy and support of scholarships, they are creating their own legacy and a history of support for students.
“Philanthropy is the only thing we can leave behind, and the scholarships are an inheritance and a way to continue our family’s legacy,” Jim said. “Even after we are no longer remembered, our names will still be connected to the University and the scholarships will continue to make a difference.”
Married for more than 60 years, the couple met as children growing up in Greece, where they lived through Nazi Germany’s invasion and occupation. While they were both still young, their families moved to the United States. They kept in touch, despite Jim’s family settling in Wheeling, W.Va., and Katy’s family settling in Wilmington, Del. Graduate school eventually brought Jim to live in Delaware, too, and he and Katy married in 1959. With Newark as their permanent home, Katy worked as an elementary school teacher and Jim an engineer for the U.S. Army.
Now, as alumni and community members, the Fallers think of the University as the center of their “cultural life” and where they forge connections with others through the arts and athletics. With such a strong connection to UD – as alumni, friends and dedicated supporters – the Fallers naturally sought ways to invest in their community.
When they established a series of scholarships in honor of their families, they became members of the Carillon Circle, a donor recognition society that celebrates those who make a commitment to benefit the University through their will or estate plans. Thanks to their dedicated philanthropy, the Fallers were also recently welcomed into the Founders Society, established in 2018, which celebrates those who have cumulatively given more than $1 million throughout their lifetimes. Jim said he often wonders what students think when they see the name of a donor and is touched to make connections with students.
"I am always impressed by the accomplishments and professionalism of the students who reach out,” Jim said. “As long as I’m alive, I will be glad to hear from them."
Among the students who have benefited from the Faller’s philanthropy is Lindsey Perez-Perez, EHD21. As a student studying elementary education, just as Katy did, Perez-Perez has a special connection to the Fallers.
Thanks to scholarship support, Perez-Perez has been able to take advantage of various opportunities, including serving as an undergraduate researcher three summers in a row. Additionally, as a Blue Hen Community Engagement Fellow and McNair Scholar, she was able to conduct outreach and research in the community to better understand the challenges and needs of Hispanic parents and families in higher education. After graduation, she said she plans to apply to graduate school to study counseling or pediatric psychology, and her time at UD has allowed her to think about different paths for the future.
“To know that donors value my education as much as I do makes me feel empowered to take advantage of all the wonderful and helpful resources University of Delaware has to offer. I am grateful for this scholarship as it has enabled me to focus on my education without financial burden on me,” Perez-Perez said. “Something my dad once told me was, ‘Your education is something no one can ever take away from you.’ It is a powerful tool to have and I think belief in the power of education is a connection the Fallers and I both share.”
To find out more about philanthropic support for scholarships and the Carillon Circle, contact Martha Mitchell, associate vice president of development and principal gifts in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, at email@example.com.
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