Colonel Fallon heads new engineering school
Cadet Jeff Wright
Walking into LeTellier Hall, the home of the Citadel Department of Civil Engineering, is like stepping into the pages of an old volume of The Sphinx. The building's design reflects that it was completed in 1947, but hard hats, the smell of concrete and sawdust, and an abundance of engineering equipment give it the impression of a site still under construction.
Indeed, changes are afoot.
Department Head Colonel Dennis Fallon has left his post for the first time since 1993 to be the dean of the newly formed school of engineering. The academic reorganization that took place last November finds Fallon leading not only the civil engineering department, but the electrical engineering department as well. The two combined in November under the new school of engineering.
Fallon was officially named dean in January. His curriculum vitae is riddled with national awards for excellence, and The Citadel awarded Fallon the prestigious James A. Grimsley award for undergraduate teaching excellence in 1998. A steady stream of recognition followed him in his professional career as well.
Fallon's experience includes structural engineering and design at Carolina Power and naval research in Virginia where his team made major advancement to naval missile systems. He received his masters and doctorate degrees from North Carolina State University and taught at his alma mater, Old Dominion University, before joining The Citadel in 1988. After five years at The Citadel, he was promoted to department head.
Under his leadership, the civil engineering department has consistently finished in the top three at the annual American Society of Civil Engineers Carolinas Conference. The department has been named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 30 engineering programs in the country.
Fallon attributes his success to the power of hard work, and it is this same quality that he teaches his students. "He emphasizes work ethic, and that's what makes his teaching stand out," says Cadet Second Lieutenant John Daly, Mike Company academic officer and civil engineering major."Being in the CE department is like having an academic fourth class system all four years."
One of Fallon's goals as dean is to ensure that this track record continues by recruiting new cadets to follow in the footsteps of cadets like Daly. "We are looking for outstanding high school students," says Fallon. In addition to recruiting, Fallon will concentrate on strengthening relationships with industry, professional engineers, and alumni.
These relationships are already impressive, especially those with alumni. "Our alumni have a vested interest in the college like no one else," says Fallon. The alumni have been the constant supporters of the civil engineering department, providing more than three-quarters of the funding that equipped all civil engineering classrooms with the latest multimedia teaching tools.
Fallon intends to carry this distinguished tradition to the new School of Engineering, where aspiring civil and electrical engineers alike will benefit from this experienced educator's leadership. "Engineering is headed toward being the leader in the education field," says Fallon, "and with the help of our alumni, the School of Engineering will help 'feed the pipeline' with promising students to be a part of this very attractive field."
Jeff Wright, a political science major, is the adjutant for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.