• Who was Gladys Allen — namesake of Baylor’s Allen Hall?

    Gladys Allen portrait

    Since 1956, Allen Hall has been home to thousands of Baylor Bears — but where did the hall get its name?

    Allen is one of at least a dozen Baylor buildings named for women — specifically, it was named in honor of Gladys Allen, a Baylor graduate, trustee and benefactor whose impact is still felt today via the scholarships she endowed 70+ years ago.

    Allen was born on June 2, 1897, in Crawford, Texas (25 miles west of Waco). After graduating from Baylor in June 1918, she served as principal of a school in Delia, Texas (30 miles northeast of Waco) for a year before returning to Waco to teach English in the local school system.

    When her mother passed away in 1934, Allen returned home to oversee her father’s business affairs — but that wasn’t the end of her connections to education. She served two terms on Baylor’s Board of Trustees (1941-47 and 1951-53). During that time, she was highly involved in Baylor’s re-admittance to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), an organization that to this day promotes educational opportunities for women and girls. (In fact, Allen’s research disproving perceived gender inequalities at Baylor was influential in reclaiming the accreditation.)

    Allen was also highly involved in the Waco community. She attended Seventh & James Baptist Church, where she taught college students and Sunday school classes from 1928-47. Allen served as president of the Waco Young Women’s Christian Association for 10 years, and was also an active member of the Waco Garden Club, Waco Garden Council, and the local branch of AAUW.

    Before her passing in 1953, Allen established three endowed scholarships at Baylor University: the Sam L. Allen Scholarship for business majors, Florence Morehead Scholarship for home economics majors, and the Gladys Allen Scholarship. In recognition of her service to Baylor, the university named Gladys Allen Hall in her honor in 1956.

    Sic ’em, Gladys Allen!

    Other residence hall name histories:
    * Brooks (Samuel Palmer Brooks)
    * Collins (Ruth Collins)
    * Dawson (Willie Turner Dawson)
    * Earle (Dr. Hallie Earle)
    * Kokernot (H.L. Kokernot)
    * Martin (D.K. “Dock” Martin)
    * Penland (George Harvey Penland)
    * Russell (Willard & Stella Russell)
    * Teal (Gordon Teal)