Winter 2022


Inspired by Friend and Mentor, Alumnus Launches New HBCU Scholarship

By Chelsea Liddy Pivtorak

Ron Falls with family at a festival
Rasheeda Creighton (left), Ronald Falls Jr. (right)

As a first-generation law student, Ronald Falls Jr., ’05, understands the importance of mentorship firsthand, and he takes pride in seizing every opportunity to help others reach their full potential. In this, Falls credits his friend and fellow Michigan Law graduate Rasheeda Creighton, ’02, with providing an example for him to follow. 

Inspired by their decades-long friendship, Falls recently established a new scholarship fund in Creighton’s honor that will support Michigan Law students who graduated from historically Black colleges and universities, as both he and Creighton did.  

Originally from Southern California, Falls attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he pursued a degree in mathematics and physics and initially planned for a career in science. Falls was very involved in student government, which is where he met Creighton, who was a year ahead of him at Morehouse’s neighboring school, Spelman College. They became fast friends. 

Creighton was a Darrow Scholar at Michigan Law when Falls was thinking about his destination for law school, and he credits her with being instrumental in his decision to come to Ann Arbor. During his Preview Weekend visit, where he also attended the Butch Carpenter Scholarship Gala, Creighton introduced Falls to a community that he found welcoming, collegial, and supportive. He emphasizes that having this network of support and mentorship made all the difference for his education.

As Falls made his way through law school, he never lost touch with Creighton, who continued to act as a resource. She provided advice on everything from coursework to clerkships. “It wasn’t just me that she was helping; it was a lot of students. She had the information, and she would share it. I was constantly reminded that she was mentoring and giving back,” says Falls.

After graduating from Michigan Law, Falls hit the ground running in what has been a wide and varied career. 

After several years in Asia working on mergers and acquisitions, he returned to the United States and reconnected with his former classmates by joining the African American Alumni Reunion Committee in its inaugural year. “I got to learn a lot more about the history and the legacy of the Law School from the perspective of former students who had come from other generations,” he says. “I realized the importance of the Reunion for current African American students, alumni, and future students because a lot of times when people think about some of these institutions, they don’t understand how they fit into it completely.” 

This realization, as well as his appreciation for his “big sister who did all the right things,” was a large part of his inspiration to establish the HBCU Go Blue Scholarship in honor of Creighton. 

“One of the many things Ron and I have always shared is our deep desire to leave a legacy, not just for our children but for future generations. Never did I imagine that he would start a scholarship with my name on it, and I was literally rendered speechless,” says Creighton. 

“I know firsthand the freedom that comes with not carrying the heavy burden of law school debt, and my hope is that we can grow this scholarship to afford that freedom to Michigan Law students for generations to come,” she adds.

As someone who has found himself in a variety of positions, most recently as a venture capitalist and a senior political strategist for a gubernatorial campaign, Falls hopes this scholarship fund will broaden the opportunities available to students. “What types of choices might they make if the economic burden is not so weighty when they leave Michigan? Might they go be public defenders or work in a startup? If there are more students who don’t have to make a decision based completely on economics, I think we’re going to find ourselves in a better place.” 

If you would like to make a contribution to the HBCU Go Blue Fund, please contact Mary Buikema at [email protected] or 734.615.4517.