Dean Allen


Dean Roger Williams Allen Remembered for Lasting Impact  

Before the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) became what it is today, Dean Roger Williams Allen helped set the high standards we currently sustain as dean of the School of Science and Literature for 26 years through 1967.

Image of Dean Roger Allen.

Dean Allen, who lived until age 92 in 1990, is still remembered today as a dean who helped shaped what COSAM has become. 

Dean Allen’s son Roger Allen, Jr. and his wife Kitty, have many fond memories of the dean that they love to share.

“You can tell just how much we adored him,” Kitty recently said as she showed the current COSAM staff all of the photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia she and Roger saved.

The couple described Dean Allen as funny, supportive and always teaching.

Dean Allen attended Auburn University when it was still Alabama Polytechnic Institute and received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1918 and Master of Science degree in Chemistry in 1919. He moved to the University of Michigan for his Master of Arts in 1921, and earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1927. He also served in a lab during World War I and worked for two years as a chemist in New York. After teaching at Howard College from 1921-26, he joined the Auburn University faculty as professor of chemistry in 1928.

Dean Allen told the Lee County Bulletin in his retirement article published on June 1, 1967, that he never had the desire to leave the classroom for administrative duties.

“I was just borrowed to finish out a semester in 1941 and never dreamed I would not return to teaching chemistry,” he said.

Accomplishments during Dean Allen’s 26-year administration of the school included the development of doctoral programs in physics, mathematics, history and English. Also, master’s programs were eventually offered in most of the school’s departments.

Dean Allen’s family’s memories of him as dean include fun times with his grandchildren when the family would visit him in his office in Tichenor Hall.

“He would take his chair on wheels from behind his desk and put the kids on the chair and run up and down the halls of Tichenor,” Kitty said. “He always did funny things like that.”

Roger and Kitty also remember Dean Allen as a sports lover. Dean Allen played shortstop on the Auburn University baseball team when he was a student, and he was Chairman of the Auburn University Faculty Athletic Committee when it was formed in 1943 through retirement.

Cover of Brochure of A-Day Dedicated to Dean Roger Allen


1967 A-Day Football Game Dedication

In 1967, the Auburn A-Day football game was dedicated to Dean Allen for his “untiring and loyal service to Auburn as Faculty Chairman of Athletics,” the program read.

“In his quiet way, Dean Allen has performed a great service to Auburn and its athletes,” read a quote from then Athletic Director Jeff Beard:

“The Auburn Athletic Department and the Southeastern Conference will certainly miss the devoted and conscientious administration of Dean Allen.”

Dean Allen also helped establish the Little League Baseball and Softball program in the state of Alabama and was supportive of his own children in their sports endeavors.

“Whenever I played a game or was at any kind of practice, he would always drive by and park and just watch,” Roger said. “There were many, many high school games that my Mom and Dad were the only fans we had. His support is something he passed down to me that we have maintained with our kids and them with their kids. It’s a nice legacy.”

Letter from Student to Dean Roger Allen.



Letter from Student 

Dean Allen also seemed to have a significant impact on the students at Auburn University. Former chemistry student Emory R. Solomon reached out to Dean Allen in a letter in 1988.

“Dr. Allen, while I was a student at Auburn, you had a great impact on my life,” the letter read.

“You would absolutely be amazed to know the hundreds of times during the past 53 years that I have thought of you. I won’t say that I have patterned my life after you, but I can certainly say that you were a great and good influence on my life. I want to thank you for this. I’m sure thousands of other Auburn students would like to do the same.”