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Tribute to Professor Noel Fallows

pic Noel

With profound sadness and condolences to his family and friends, we in the Department of Romance Languages pay tribute to Noel Fallows, Distinguished Research Professor of Spanish and Associate Provost for Global Engagement at the University of Georgia. He passed away 29 December 2021 due to complications from a prolonged illness he fought with his singular blend of understated humor and calm determination. Noel first came to Georgia as a Masters student in Spanish literature after graduating with honors from the University of Liverpool. His thesis supervisor here at Georgia was the eminent medievalist, Professor Joseph Snow, then a professor in Romance Languages and now Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University. Fallows then moved to the University of Michigan for his doctoral degree, after which he accepted a faculty position at Georgia. As a teacher, he inspired students to challenge themselves with the study of medieval Spanish literary works, attaining such distinctions as the Sandy Beaver Award for Excellence in Teaching awarded by Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Richard B. Russell Undergraduate Teaching Award bestowed by the Office of the Provost. As a world-class scholar of medieval Spanish literature, he garnered a notable series of research prizes and honors, culminating in his election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and his selection as a Distinguished Research Professor, which is the University of Georgia’s foremost research award. As an administrator, Noel led the Department of Romance Language for eight years (1999–2006), empowering faculty, graduate students, and staff. His contributions to the internationalization of research, teaching, and service expanded further after he rose through the ranks in university administration, first as Associate Dean of Franklin College of Arts and Sciences (2007–16) and then as Associate Provost for Global Engagement (2016–21).

Staff, faculty, and students in Romance Languages who benefited from Noel Fallows’s inspired leadership cherish his encouragement—memorably expressed in the distinctive rhythm and turns-of-phrase of his hometown of Liverpool, England. Maryanna Axson—now a Personnel and Payroll Business Partner in the Franklin College Business Services Office and formerly the Romance Languages Business Manager (2005–21)—credits Fallows with encouraging her to apply for the position of Romance Languages Business Manager at a time when it seemed too daunting: “I was (and still am) thankful to him that he encouraged me to try and bite off more than I thought I could chew.” Julia C. Hernández—who earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Romance Languages in 2019 and is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish, Washington and Lee University—noted that “the Franklin College–University of Liverpool Doctoral Exchange program that Noel Fallows founded was one of the most transformative experiences of my time at Georgia.… I also remember fondly Professor Fallows’s generosity in sharing his time and his expertise at various points as I developed my research. Even with his busy administrative schedule, his delight in mentoring graduate students was clear; he was always happy to make time to chat with me about Medieval Spain, imparting invaluable advice gleaned from his many years of archival experience as I embarked on my first research trip to Spain.” Donald Woodwho earned his PhD in Romance Languages with concentrations in Spanish and Medieval Studies in 2012 under Noel Fallows’s direction and is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Oklahoma State Universitywrote, “Dr. Fallows set me on my path as an academic and a Medievalist, introducing me to Aljamiado-Morisco literature as an MA student at UGA in 2005. He continued to mentor me, forever offering encouragement with his trademark dry wit, until his death. I am forever grateful for his unwavering kindness, fantastic sense of humor, and truly British sense of fashion.”

Noel Fallows is survived by his wife, Kristin Pope, with whom he established The Kristin M. Pope and Noel Fallows Support Fund for International Veterinary Medicine, born from their shared passion for animals and world travel. This fund supports a UGA College of Veterinary Medicine student participating in a global animal health externship with the unique opportunity to develop sustainable, useful practices in developing communities alongside locals that will impact generations to come. To mail your gift, please make your check out to UGA Foundation, include “In memory of Dr. Fallows” in the memo line, and mail to:

University of Georgia Foundation

University of Georgia

Athens, GA 30602


Personnel in this Article

(1961-2021) Associate Provost, Office of Global Engagement, Distinguished Research Professor, Spanish

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