Lifelong Learners Ken and Liz Allen Continue Legacy of Student Support

Ken and Liz Allen with their 2019 scholarship recipients.
Photo by Whit Pruitt

Ken and Liz Allen with their 2019 scholarship recipients.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumni Ken and Liz Allen of Fayetteville have recently committed a combined $125,000 to support students through the Advance Arkansas scholarship initiative and faculty in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.

The Allens have supported student success at the university for many years and said they continue to give back because they love what is happening on campus.

“Over the years, we have been so impressed with the recipients of our scholarship funds,” the couple said. “The students study hard, hold down jobs and take their education opportunities seriously. They are so impressive. The university does a great job finding good candidates.”

The Ken and Liz Allen Advance Arkansas Endowed Scholarship will be funded with a $100,000 commitment and add to the scholarship support students are already receiving through the Ken and Liz Allen Scholarship Fund. Their Advance Arkansas scholarship will support new, returning and transfer students from Arkansas who exhibit financial need, records of academic success and a strong desire to complete their degree at the university. Preference will be given to dependents of current active-duty military personnel and students pursuing a degree in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

“Our endowment funds focus on scholarships in the Walton College,” the Allens said. “This just reflects our personal experience over the decades that a solid business education is a wonderful foundation for success and growth in a challenging world. Our experience with the professors and administrators, as well as our experience within and outside the classroom, has confirmed that the Walton College provides an exceptional environment and platform for learning.”

“Ken and Liz Allen are amazing friends of the University of Arkansas and of the Walton College,” said Matt Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and holder of the Sam Walton Leadership Chair. “This additional gift to the Walton College shows their continuing commitment to the success of all of our students. The Allens are key supporters of the university, and we can’t thank them enough for their investment in students who are interested in being a part of the future of business in Arkansas.”

The Allens are equally passionate about the Advance Arkansas initiative.

“We think the Advance Arkansas scholarship program is a great vehicle for making a university education more affordable for Arkansas students,” they said. “We’ve worked pretty hard to try to understand what students face and what might be helpful in supporting the chancellor’s priority of student success. What better investment is there than in supporting Arkansas students who are seeking a college degree?”

Brittney Higgins, a senior from Sherwood, Arkansas, is a recipient of the Ken and Liz Allen Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2006.

“The Allen scholarship has not only helped me through school financially but also connected me with two kind and caring souls,” Higgins said. “The time that the Allens set aside every year to have lunch with their scholarship recipients is so special. It feels great knowing that they believe in me.”

Another $25,000 from the Allens will be used to fund the Fay Jones Distinguished Visiting Professor in Architecture and Design for the 2019-20 academic year.

“Our fascination with architecture started with an architecture lecture class we took here as undergraduates,” the Allens said. “The Fay Jones School has become one of the top architecture and design schools in the nation. We have been delighted to have the opportunity to both experience and participate in a number of the school’s offerings.”

“Ken and Liz Allen are devoted citizens of the Fay Jones School community, and equally devoted to the legacy of Fay Jones’ architecture,” said Dean Peter MacKeith. “Their appreciation for the value of architecture and design and the value of education is perfectly matched in their gift underwriting the School’s 2020 Fay Jones Distinguished Visitor in Architectural History. The School is deeply appreciative of their support for this important dimension of our curriculum, especially as it will benefit both our students and the public.”

The Allens both graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1980 and believe “all the good things in our lives started with or college experience.” After living in the Dallas area for many years, they returned to Fayetteville and have enjoyed becoming reacquainted with their alma mater.

“As senior Razorbacks, we have taken advantage of the opportunity to take classes at the U of A for free,” the Allens said. “The professors have been terrifically welcoming. At first, the students seem to wonder what folks our age are doing in the class; however, once we connect, they seem to think it’s pretty cool that we want to continue learning!”

The Allens are life members of the Arkansas Alumni Association and are counted as Thoroughreds for their 13 years of consecutive giving to the university. They are also included in Towers of Old Main, a giving society for the university’s most generous benefactors.

About Campaign Arkansas: Campaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university’s academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign’s goal is to raise $1.25 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations


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