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Donor Story

"Meeting the students at their concert event was like a dream come true. It immediately felt like family, and I felt such pride during their performance. I thought, 'I didn't need to have children, I have my children now.'"
~ Shera Danese Falk

"Just One More Thing?"

Peter Falk was most often recognized for the frumpy and seemingly absent-minded detective character he crafted for the television series, Columbo. Whenever Columbo tucked in a last-minute question at the end of an interrogation, "just one more thing," you knew that he was on to some truth-revealing facts.

Off screen, Peter Falk capped his long and successful life with one more transformative thing: Through his estate, he left a legacy gift that would impact the lives of bright young students for generations. When he passed away, in June 2011, his wife, Shera, set out to make Peter's decision a reality.

Being remembered for something you believe in-"Peter felt very strongly about education," Shera says, "and so he decided to set up a scholarship fund. The question was 'where?' He was not an alumnus, but in the end," Shera recalls, "he felt that UCLA was such a powerhouse for education and art and research that this was where his gift would have the maximum impact."

Building a personal and lasting legacy - Shera is working hand in hand with the UCLA Scholarship team to create the Falk legacy. "Everything seemed to fall into place," she says. "The support of education fits Peter's intent. And, the first set of full-ride scholarships is for music students, including an opera singer, which honors Peter's mother's love of music and of the Metropolitan Opera. It was as if it was meant to be."

Giving gives something back-Shera describes her philanthropic experience as life-changing. "This was also a gift to me. I get such an exciting sense of making a difference. I hope the scholarships open doors for these students. That's what Peter would want."


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