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Grace Carlton Allen

Obituary
  • "We will truly miss Grace. Our family's lives have been..."
    - Debbie Leonard
  • "Our hearts are also broken with the loss of a dear friend..."
    - Ann Coy
  • "My wife and I have known Grace for over 50 years, from the..."
    - Jim and Bernice Teske
  • "USF's first "First Lady" was the guiding light. Rest in..."
    - Tony Grier
  • "She was a true ambassador for USF, especially during USF's..."
    - Cordelia McIlwain

ALLEN, Grace Carlton 99, of Tampa, FL, passed away Dec. 16, 2007, peacefully in her sleep. In 1981, Mrs. Allen was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. John Allen, who was the first and founding president of the University of South Florida. She is survived by nieces, Ms. Lynne Beckett, of New York, NY, Mrs. Christine Chambers and husband, Robert, of Grosse Ile, MI, Mrs. Carol Letson and husband, Peter, of Greenfield, MA, Mrs. Sandra Strubhar and husband, Harold, of Pine, AZ, Mrs. Marian Wyatt and husband, Charles, of San Jose, CA; grandnieces, Ms. Krista Chambers, of New York, NY, and Ms. Ann Letson, of East Lansing, MI; grandnephews, Alan Chambers, of Chicago, IL, Daniel DeMarti, of New York, NY, Vincent DeMarti, of New York, NY, Fred Letson, of Greenfield, MA; and numerous great-nieces and nephews. Grace Allen was born in Fargo, ND, on June 20, 1908, and was the eldest daughter of Rev. Ben and Alma Carlton. She was educated in the public schools of CA, IL, SD, and IA. Mrs. Allen graduated from the University of Minnesota where she met her husband, and she taught in MN schools. She and Dr. Allen lived in Hamilton, NY, where Dr. Allen was on the faculty of Colgate University, and later in Albany, NY, where Dr. Allen was Director of Higher Education under the NY State Board of Regents. Dr. and Mrs. Allen then moved to Gainesville, FL, where Dr. Allen served as Vice President and then Acting President of the University of Florida. In 1957, Dr. and Mrs. Allen moved to Tampa, FL, where Dr. Allen became the first and founding president of the University of South Florida. Mrs. Allen and her husband were the recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant to travel to colleges and universities around the country to study buildings and programs, and to hire staff for the newly-founded USF. Mrs. Allen always served as an ambassador for the educational institutions at which Dr. Allen worked, particularly USF. At USF, Mrs. Allen founded the USF Womens Club, which established the Grace Allen Scholarship Fund. Mrs. Allen also established several endowed and dedicated scholarships. In life, Mrs. Allen's greatest joy was in promoting higher education, and until the age of 98, she made a point of personally greeting and encouraging many recipients of those scholarships. Upon retirement from USF in 1970, Dr. and Mrs. Allen moved to Jacksonville, FL, where Dr. Allen assisted in planning and staffing the University of North Florida. Dr. and Mrs. Allen then returned to Tampa and resided at John Knox Village, adjacent to USF. In 1970, The Florida Board of Regents renamed the Administration Building at USF the "John and Grace Allen Administration Building." Mrs. Allen continued to reside at John Knox Village after the passing of her husband. In 1996, Grace Allen was awarded an honorary degree of doctorate of humane letters from USF. She was a founder and member of Athenaeum, which later became Mortar Board at USF. Mrs. Allen was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Sigma Alpha Iota, and the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She served on the Boards of the USF Suncoast Gerontology Center, USF Federal Credit Union, and John Knox Village. She was a founder and volunteer worker of the Women's Auxiliary of University Community Hospital. Mrs. Allen was a Charter Member of Village Presbyterian Church. She was a Sweetheart of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, and was a good friend of the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter at USF. Mrs. Allen brought joy and grace to every circumstance, and she will be greatly missed. A Memorial Ceremony will be held by USF and her family on Friday, March 7, 2008, at 10 am, on the campus of USF at Traditions Hall in the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center, and is open to the public. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the "John and Grace Allen Endowed Scholarship" at the USF Foundation, or "John and Grace Allen Endowed Honors Scholarship" at the USF Foundation, 4202 E Fowler Ave., ALC 100, Tampa, FL 33620. Hillsboro Memorial Gardens 813-689-8121

Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Dec. 19, 2007
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