Providing a Living Legacy

From left: Dana Falter and his brothers, Rod, Shannon and Todd, established a scholarship to support UNK students from their hometown.
From left: Dana Falter and his brothers, Rod, Shannon and Todd, established a scholarship to support UNK students from their hometown.

By Susan Houston Klaus

Editor’s note: Before this story was published, Dana Falter’s wife, Pat, sadly passed away. The University of Nebraska Foundation extends its deepest condolences to Dana and his family.


As a kid in Creighton, Nebraska, Dana Falter learned a lot about hard work.

From his time on the football field and basketball court to his job on a dairy farm, getting up at 4 a.m. and working until 5 p.m., he developed a deep-seated work ethic and discipline.

Today, Falter, a Burnett Society member, and his brothers are honoring their hometown with a scholarship fund for business and technology students who attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The third of eight children, Falter says Creighton, a community of about 1,200 in the northeast part of the state, was a good place to grow up.

“It was a close-knit community, so we had things we could do from the early ages on,” he said.

“For our family, it was really all about sports, which taught us a lot about teamwork. In Creighton, you know, you played every sport. And we did a lot of things together as a family. With eight kids, we could do a lot of things together.”

Sports opened doors. After a year at what later became Norfolk Community College in Norfolk, Falter set his sights on playing football for what was then known as Kearney State College. But after an injury, he learned he wouldn’t be ready for the upcoming season. So, he decided to heal and go out for basketball. He played basketball for three years as a Loper.

Falter was the first in his family to graduate from what’s now UNK. His three brothers also earned their degrees there.

Falter credits the discipline, drive and work ethic he developed in high school for his successful career. He’s been with Union Bank & Trust in Lincoln since 2005, for part of that time as an executive vice president of the wholesale lending area; previously, he spent 15 years with FirsTier Bank (later First Bank and U.S. Bank).

After being diagnosed with cancer in 2017, Falter has been working as a consultant for the organization while also mentoring employees and sitting on the bank’s executive committee.

Living with his new health status, Falter said, “I just decided it was time to slow down.”

But he is still driven to do good for the community of UNK, which taught him so much on and off the court.

Falter, with the support of his three brothers, Rod, Shannon and Todd, is funding the Falter “4” UNK Scholarship. The fund benefits the Creighton, Nebraska, community, as well as others in Knox County. Qualified students must be enrolled in the College of Business and Technology and meet the scholarship requirements.

The fund, which awarded its first scholarship in 2021, supports four students every year. Falter has also made a planned gift through retirement plan assets with the help of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Falter says he and his brothers wanted to leave a legacy that acknowledges the impact that Kearney  — not only the college but also the campus community, the town and the people  — has had on them.

“I think all of us had great experiences there, not only in our education, but also developing relationships or participating in sports,” he said. “We fell in love with the community. It was just the right size for our family, and it was a steppingstone for all of us.”

Three of the four brothers have a business or technology background, which is why they designated the fund to benefit those students.

Falter says he and his brothers want to show students in the Creighton community how broad the options are in those fields.

“We’re trying to educate people about that,” he said. “When you pursue a degree in the business and technology fields, there are a lot of things you can do with this scholarship.”

Even beyond the financial assistance students receive from the scholarship fund, Falter says he and his brothers want to make a personal connection.

He watches the dean’s list every semester and aims to send the Falter “4” students a note of congratulations. This past spring, the Falter brothers began what they hope will become an annual tradition: having lunch with the scholarship recipients.

“That’s just another way we can touch their lives,” Falter said. “We want to be available, not just financially but also intellectually, if they need us for questions, whether they’re in college or out of college.

“We want them to know that we’re here now and throughout their careers if they have questions, if they’ve got a hurdle to get over, or let’s say they’re getting out into their careers and they’re trying to decide `which job should I take?’ We’d like to be involved as much or as little as they want us to be.”

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