Following in her father’s footsteps and earning an MBA was just another life mission for retired Navy officer Michele Falkenau ’04. After graduating from Mays and starting a new career, Falkenau decided it was time to give back to the institution that helped her accomplish her self-assigned duty—with the help of her father.

Falkenau’s pride and appreciation for Texas A&M motivated her to encourage her father, Clifford, to establish the Falkenau Family Foundation Excellence Award, an estate gift estimated at $60,000. The pair of father and daughter MBAs also decided to include the preference in their gift of supporting a graduate student at Mays.

Texas A&M’s Foundation Excellence Awards provide scholarships to students from under-represented groups, including minorities and students from economically disadvantaged areas and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. “I think that [former[ President Gates’ focus on increasing diversity is critical to the continued development of Texas A&M,” Falkenau said, “and we wanted to support that initiative.”

Falkenau said the financial support she received when attending Texas A&M made a huge impact on her family’s decision to support scholarship awards for students.

“Support for graduate students is critical to allow us to recruit outstanding talent to Mays,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “As former MBA students, the Falkenaus realize the important role that financial support plays in graduate programs and have stepped up to the plate to support this most important initiative.”

Clifford A. Falkenau received his MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth in 1940. He worked for GE, Sylvania and Martin Marietta, but it was his final job in a senior civilian position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon that gave him the most pride. Now retired, Clifford resides in Annapolis, Maryland.

Michele’s MBA from Mays, which she earned in 2004, has allowed her to work in the credit card industry. She is employed by Citibank in Jacksonville, Florida.