category: Faculty Emeriti - In Memory Of

Garland Allen

Professor Emeritus of History

Dr. Allen Garland
Garland Allen

Dr. Garland Allen (1922-2014) was born in Tuckerman, Ark., as the middle child to Roy and Evelyn Rich Allen. His parents only had the opportunity to receive an eighth-grade formal education. Roy Allen was a self-taught farmer and veterinarian by profession. He researched and studied through numerous books of animal science and then went to Little Rock, where he took and passed the Arkansas State Veterinarian Examination.

At 16 years old, Garland Allen was ordained a Baptist preacher. He attended Ouachita College in Arkadelphia, Ark. Graduating with a teacher’s degree in 1944, he enrolled in Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He soon had a three-year Bachelor of Divinity degree and his master’s degree. He then received a Doctorate in Church History there. His minors were Old Testament and historical theology.

Allen had a variety of teaching experiences. In Walnut Ridge, Ark., he taught at Southern Baptist Junior College (now Williams College). After four years, he resigned and moved to Memphis, Tenn., where he taught English and history in Millington Public High School near Memphis. He was a member of the Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society for History. While teaching there, he attended Memphis State University and received a Master of Arts degree in European History.

Allen left in 1961 to begin his tenure at Gardner-Webb. During his academic career at Gardner-Webb, he was an academic counselor, taught history and religion, and served as chair of the religion department.

Garland Allen teachingHis academic influence at Gardner-Webb was balanced by an outstanding effort in the athletic ranks as a legendary golf coach of the Runnin’ Bulldogs from 1962 to 1989. When Gardner-Webb was a junior college, his teams won several district championships. Allen’s success continued as a golf coach at Gardner- Webb as a four-year institution. He won National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championships in 1976 and 1977 and produced several All–Americans. Other teams were ranked second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, 19th and, in 1989, 13th nationally. Allen was honored as NAIA Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1977, and as a tribute to his success as a coach, Allen was inducted into the Gardner-Webb University Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 6, 1993.

Allen set the bar high during his tenure as Gardner-Webb’s head golf coach, directing the program to nine appearances in the NAIA National Tournament. According to Allen, the players experienced success due to the fact that he encouraged them to remain individuals. Allen stressed personal relationships among players. His former players maintained contact with him over the years. He said the golfers just kept coming back.

Allen was honored by being chosen professor emeritus in 1990, the year after he retired. Of his experiences in education, he shared, “I never regretted being in education—never for a minute. One of the reasons I managed to stay young was because of continuing association with like- minded people, people who are genuinely dedicated to the welfare of the students.”

Allen was married to Mary Evelyn Garrison in 1949 after meeting in 1944 in Louisville, Ky. Evelyn, originally from Lincolnton, N.C., graduated from Mars Hill College, Baylor University and Carver School of Missions in Louisville (WMU Training), which is now a part of the Seminary. Until 1987, she taught English at Crest High School and Crest Middle School in Cleveland County, N.C., and served as a librarian.

The Allens raised two children, Susan and William Henry.

Over the years Allen was involved in several community organizations. He was a member of the Cleveland County Senior Golf Association, was active in Boiling Springs Baptist Church, was a member of the Lion’s Club, and was a Boy Scout Commissioner for Troop 117 (a position held for 35 years). As commissioner, Allen helped many young men through decision making, raising money, and encouraging scouts to get merit badges and to attend the Court of Honor.

At Gardner-Webb, Allen served on many committees in various positions and was active in the Bulldog Club. Allen said that personal relationships with both students and faculty through the years brought him much satisfaction and enjoyment.

Source: Personal Interview—Margaret Thomas Updated: Dr. Darlene Gravett, Matthew Tessnear and Noel T. Manning, II (August 2014 – February 2015)

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