Allens Pledge $4M for Student Housingby Richard Paige • May 26, 2015 Share:
Robert and Elizabeth Allen have made a gift to the Fund for Student Housing at Wabash College and have challenged other alumni and friends to contribute to the fund raising effort.
Bob Allen, a 1957 Wabash College alumnus, and his wife, Betty, a graduate of DePauw University, contributed $2 million outright and have made an additional $2 million challenge that will match other gifts to the project dollar-for-dollar.
“For more than half a century, Bob and Betty Allen have been enormously generous in their support of Wabash and we are forever grateful,” said Wabash President Gregory D. Hess. “Their investment in the exciting new housing we are constructing on the west side of campus is a clear testament to their belief in a residential liberal arts experience for future generations of Wabash men.”
Wabash announced in 2014 that it would construct six new residential housing units that will provide 136 new beds as a part of a $23 million investment in student housing. The Residential Life District includes three different building types and six living unit configurations, which will provide Wabash students an abundance of choices — from single rooms to six-man townhome apartments.
“Over the years we have been committed to helping the College achieve its important mission, and we see this new student housing project as an integral part of Wabash’s strategy to recruit talented young men and prepare them to leave the campus ready to make a difference in their communities and professions,” said Bob Allen.
A native of Joplin, Missouri, Bob Allen grew up in New Castle, Indiana, and attended Wabash with the assistance of a small scholarship. He and Betty were married after her graduation from DePauw, and the new couple lived in an area of campus known as “Mud Hollow” during Bob’s senior year. The houses in Mud Hollow were leftover Quonset hut-style structures that were built during World War II. The Allens’ first son, Jay (Wabash Class of 1979) was born in Mud Hollow, and the residential community forged there left a lasting impression on the Allens.
Bob Allen would later rise through the ranks of Indiana Bell and AT&T, becoming President of AT&T in 1986. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AT&T from 1988 until his retirement in 1998.
The generous $2 million “From Generation to Generation Challenge” gift allows donors to the Fund for Student Housing to double their gifts in support of the College’s strategic initiative.
“We believe that our gift will provide a symbolic connection between our generation of Mud Hollow residents to future generations of Wabash students who will live in this new housing,” Bob Allen said.
The national architecture firm of Shepley Bulfinch designed the project; Indiana’s The Hagerman Group is the construction manager for the project. New townhomes will be available in August with halls and lodges coming online later in the school year. Once construction is complete on the Residential Life District, Wabash will undertake a redesign and renovation of its flagship residence hall, Martindale Hall, which will re-open at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.