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AU's Falls lived 'what he believed'

Headshot of Dr. Glenn Falls

Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Glenn Falls, namesake of Anderson University's Falls School of Business, passed away on Nov. 10, 2017, after a short illness. 

ANDERSON – To those who knew him at Anderson University and across Madison County, he was a teacher, mentor, community partner and friend.

But more than that, to many he encountered throughout his 95 years, Robert Glenn Falls was an inspiration.

“He was a man who was committed to his students, who saw his life as a ministry of God and practiced generosity with the resources he had,” said Carl Caldwell, Falls' son-in-law and retired Anderson University vice president for academic affairs.

Falls taught full time in the Anderson University School of Business for 35 years until he retired in 1987. In 2001 the department was renamed the Falls School of Business in his honor.

Falls died Friday at Community Hospital Anderson after a short illness. He is survived by his second wife, Bernice, and daughters, Carolyn Caldwell and Barbara Schelstrate.

Falls, who was born Dec. 9, 1921, in Lubbock, Texas, and was one of seven children of Cecil and Mamie Falls, didn't initially intend to be a businessman and professor.

After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Falls came to Anderson to study at Anderson College. His wife, Ruth Wagner, whom he married April 5, 1942, was set to be a musician for the Church of God, and Falls intended to become a pastor.

“(But) he always had interest in business. He helped his folks run a small neighborhood grocery store,” Carl Caldwell said. “And he found he thoroughly enjoyed business.”

So Falls changed his plans and, after he graduated from Anderson University in 1949, he earned MBA and DBA degrees at Indiana University. He also became a certified public accountant.

Although he wasn’t spending every Sunday on the pulpit, Falls' calling as a minister of God never faltered.

“As time passed for him, he came to understand that his work was a ministry. It was not standing in front of a church preaching, it was rather interacting with the lives of young people, day by day, year by year,” Carl Caldwell said.

As an example of Falls’ commitment to his students, Caldwell told the story of Ron Moore, who later became a vice president at AU.

As Caldwell retells it, Moore was a brilliant student who had issues with professional social skills. So one day after class, Falls called the young student into his office.

“He said, ‘You are brilliant, but if you are ever going to be able to succeed in the business world, you will need to develop some social skills: greet people, look them in the eye, don’t act like you are inferior; and Ron just said that was a transformative moment for him,” Caldwell recounted. “Teachers don’t have to do that, nobody requires teachers to look at students and offer guidance for life. That’s what Glenn did.”

Along with teaching, Falls held a private accounting practice and was involved in the establishment of Payless Supermarkets. He also invested in the community, serving on boards of the Anderson Banking Company, the Urban League, the Christian Center and the Madison County Community Foundation finance committee.

Through these, Carl Caldwell said, Falls truly lived his ministry.

“Glenn didn’t go around preaching about: ‘You better be saved.’ He just lived what he believed, and what he believed was that we all have an obligation to do well, to live simply, to be generous.”

This article was written by Christopher Stephens, and was reposted with permission from the Herald Bulletin

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