Barbara Fallon

Barbara M. Fallon, '89 was a certified public accountant in the Montvale, N.J., office of KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. Fallon was born in Philadelphia and was the second of nine children. Her family moved to Omaha, Neb., when she was in grade school, and she graduated from Westside High School in 1971. After high school, she worked as an accounting clerk, accounting assistant, and bookkeeper.

After being told that she would never succeed in college because of her hearing loss, she enrolled at Penn Valley Community College, and in 1986, at the age of 32, she enrolled in the accounting program at RIT/NTID.

Despite being the oldest in her classes and being placed in a dorm with students nearly half her age, Fallon adjusted and quickly became one of NTID's most recognized and admired students.

She helped fellow deaf students register for classes. She joined the Big Brother/Big Sister program and tutored both deaf and hearing business students. She became the first deaf person elected to the board of RIT's Student Directorate and also was a member of the NTID Student Congress. She served as student budget assistant for RIT's Student Activities and Student-Alumni Union Services and was on the campus radio station advisory board.

Fallon consistently was on the Dean's List and received both a Davis Scholarship and an NTID Scholarship Incentive Award. She was elected to the Mark Ellingson Association, which recognizes exemplary students with leadership potential, and was a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society.

A successful cooperative work experience at KPMG turned into a permanent job after she graduated from RIT in 1989. She began as an auditor and eventually was promoted to a supervising senior tax specialist position. In 1992, she began volunteering at Community Tax Aid, a non-profit organization that prepares tax returns for low income and elderly individuals. She received the KPMG Montvale Area Chairman's Award for Volunteerism in 2001. She also volunteered at Corporate Outreach in Westchester County, N.Y.

She was a member of the NTID Alumni Association and had just been invited to join the NTID Foundation Board of Directors. She was a sought-after career speaker, mentor and advisor.

Fallon lived in Yonkers, N.Y., but spent as much time as she could with her large extended family. She vacationed at Ponca State Park in Nebraska with her eight siblings and mother, and loved to visit her many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was an avid football fan and fiercely loved the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Fallon passed away unexpectedly in February 2008, shortly after she was notified of her selection as the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus for NTID. She will always be remembered by the RIT/NTID community.

How RIT/NTID has contributed to your success?

Fallon was interviewed several times as both a student and graduate of RIT/NTID. The excerpts below are from NTID's FOCUS magazine as well as NTID Foundation materials.

"After working for 14 years after high school, I ran into the age-old problem of having experience but not the college degree that I needed to advance. My RIT education through NTID was the right thing for me at the right time in my life. I know that I probably could have received a college education somewhere else.  But I would have had to fight a lot more than I did at RIT.  And without NTID's support services, I doubt that I could have succeeded to this degree. My RIT education set me on the track for a great job."

"RIT gave me the opportunity to receive an education that helped me achieve the biggest dream I had—to become a certified public accountant. I am able to give back financially to RIT/NTID, so I feel that I should. I give…to help others reach their dreams."