Obituary: Jeremiah Allen, Professor Emeritus of English, Former Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts

Jeremiah Allen

Jeremiah M. Allen, Jr., 94, formerly of Amherst, professor emeritus of English and former acting provost and dean of the Humanities and Fine Arts, died May 29 in hospice in Providence.

Born in Newton, he graduated in 1938 from Newton High School, where he had been co-captain of the state champion track team. He entered Duke University in fall 1938 and spent two years there.  In the summer of 1940, anticipating U.S. involvement in World War II, he dropped out to become a naval aviation cadet. He was commissioned as an ensign and a torpedo bomber pilot in summer 1941. He was on the USS Wasp when it was sunk on Sept. 15, 1942. He finished the war on other carriers in the Pacific and was discharged in 1945 as a lieutenant commander. That fall he returned to Duke, received his B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, in 1947, moved back to Newton with his family and attended Tufts University, where he received his M.A. in 1948.

He was hired as an instructor in the engineering English department of the University of Colorado, in Boulder, and accepted as a Ph.D. student in the arts and sciences English department, beginning fall 1948. He received his Ph.D. in 1956 and was promoted to assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 1960, and to professor in 1962.  In the late 1950s he began to perform administrative tasks, came to the attention of the CU provost, Oswald Tippo, and began a lengthy career as a university administrator.

Allen became acting associate dean of the graduate school at CU in 1962, then served as acting dean from 1964-65. 

In 1965, Tippo left CU to become provost at UMass and three years later he hired Allen as associate provost and professor of English. In 1970, Allen was named acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. After the college was reorganized into three units later that year, he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Fine Arts and also briefly served as acting dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Allen served as acting provost from 1978-79 before returning to the dean’s post, which he held until 1982. He retired in 1995 as professor of English.

From 1974-75, he was president of the national Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences.

He was active in the Faculty Senate, where he served as presiding officer.

His wife, Aldith Sutton Allen, died in 2002.

He leaves five children, Jeremiah Mervin III, Peter Sutton, Barbara Aldith (now Nearpass), Stanley Tillinghast and Jonathan Lucas, 10 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Aug. 1 from 1-2 p.m. in 1001 Campus Center. 

Contributions in his memory can be made to the Silver Lake Land Trust, P.O. Box 222, Harrisville, NH 03450 or Historic Harrisville, P.O. Box 79, Harrisville, NH 03450.