Ohio State Dental Journal

A Dream Career

In 1946, Eileen Hoehn Fallon (first row, far left) was one of 17 students who graduated in the first dental hygiene class at the College of Dentistry.

When Eileen Guider graduated from Columbus, Ohio’s North High School at the height of the Great Depression in 1935, little did she know that her new job as an assistant to College of Dentistry faculty member George McClellan, DDS would be the start of an incredibly fulfilling career. 

Eileen Hoehn Fallon ’46 DHY shares photos of her class with Dean  Patrick M. Lloyd.

“I always wanted to go to college but I couldn’t afford to go, so I entered the workforce,” she said. “When Dean Wendell Postle started Ohio’s first dental hygiene program at the college in 1944, Dr. McClellan said, ‘I’ve taught you everything I can. You should enter the Dental Hygiene program.’” Unfamiliar with the profession, Guider—who is Eileen Hoehn Fallon today—responded: “What on earth is that?” 

Despite her initial unfamiliarity with the program, Mrs. Hoen Fallon soon learned quite a bit about dental hygiene. She went on to graduate from the College of Dentistry’s first dental hygiene class in 1946. 

After graduation, she joined a private practice in Mansfield, Ohio, where she practiced for 20 years before securing a teaching position at a new dental hygiene school in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Mrs. Hoen Fallon relocated to North Carolina with her husband and helped launch the new program. Over the next 11 years, she taught, continued to raise her four children, and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree. When she finally retired in 1982, she was director of the program she helped build—and she was still telling her students that the skills they were learning came by way of her education at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry.

Today, Mrs. Hoehn Fallon, who was widowed and remarried after she retired, is almost 98 years old. Nevertheless, her excitement for the profession is still as fresh and youthful as that of a new student just entering the dental hygiene program. “I think dental hygiene is a marvelous profession,” she said. “Look at where I was able to go with my two-year program. I wish I was 50 years younger and could start all over again.”