One of Oldest UMass Amherst Alums, Age 105, Named to the French Legion of Honor

AMHERST, Mass. - Carl M. Allen, one of the oldest alumni of the University of Massachusetts at age 105, will receive France''s highest national award. He has been named Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor.

Allen has been cited for the decisive support he gave French soldiers in defense of their country during World War I. The insignia of the Legion of Honor will be conferred upon Allen at 11 a.m. on Wed., Jan. 6, at Allen''s home at The Willows, in Westborough.

Allen, who grew up in Holyoke, graduated from Massachusetts Agricultural College, a forerunner of the University, in 1914, with a bachelor''s degree in chemistry. He was a classmate of Murray D. Lincoln, for whom the campus center is named, and knew Curry Hicks, the physical education teacher for whom Curry Hicks Building is named. He worked as an analytic chemist for a few years before serving in World War I. As a member of the Chemical Warfare Service, he tested gas masks and analyzed the contents of unexploded enemy artillery shells. Allen witnessed the Paris celebration of Allied victory on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, and returned to work as a chemist for the Stouffer Chemical Company until retiring. Following his retirement, he served as a consultant to the chemical industry. He will celebrate his 106th birthday on Jan. 28.