Development News

Tennessee Tech College of Business alumnus establishes scholarship for finance majors 

A photo of Sam AllenSamuel E. Allen, `79 business management, says there was never any doubt where he would attend college. 

“Tennessee Tech was in my DNA from the very beginning,” he said. 

Allen grew up a block from campus and enrolled at Tech’s nursery school when he was three. He attended Tennessee Tech Elementary School and remembers riding his bike through campus, playing tennis on the tennis courts, running on Tech’s football field and watching homecoming parades. When it snowed, he and his friends walked to campus to build snowmen and have snowball fights. Tech’s campus schools operated on the same schedule as the university, and Allen distinctly remembers hearing the following radio message on snow days: “All schools in Putnam County are closed – with the exception of Tennessee Tech University and Tennessee Tech Elementary School.” 

Thanks to a rewarding career in the financial industry, Allen says he wants to give back to the university that gave him the building blocks for success.

“I’m really proud of Tennessee Tech and what they instilled in me,” said Allen. “I have always been appreciative of how Tech prepared me to grow and thrive along my career path. I want to give back to the institution that set me on my way.” 

Allen says his economics and finance professor Whewon Cho and information technology professor Bob Langley were two of his favorites, along with history professor Gil Fernandez. Allen says he was also fortunate to have Bob Bell as his advisor. Prior to serving as president of Tennessee Tech, Bell was dean of the College of Business.  

A part-time job in banking while attending Tech led to Allen’s 42-year career in the financial industry, including senior management roles in retail, mortgage and corporate marketing, and sales. Allen served as President of the Nashville Mortgage Bankers Association and the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association and held leadership positions with several nonprofit organizations such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ear Foundation, McNeilly Center for Children and Belmont University Friends of the Arts Board. 

Allen has supported scholarships in his parents’ names for many years. The Sonny Allen Leadership Award is awarded to Golden Eagle football players, and the Betty Sue Huddleston Allen Scholarship is given to students majoring in history. Allen says the time was right to establish his own scholarship, and he hopes the Samuel E. Allen Finance Scholarship will provide meaningful financial assistance to future students. 

“I want to give someone an opportunity for a rewarding career like I’ve experienced,” he said. “Your career path is a lifetime of learning. I’ve mentored several associates over the years, and I would always encourage them to be optimistic, goal-oriented and open to new ideas and processes, but to also enjoy the journey along the way. As I look back, I think, ‘How did I get here, to retirement, so quickly?’ The journey travels pretty fast.” 

Allen lives in Nashville but visits Cookeville often. 

“Every time I come home, I walk over to the campus,” said Allen. “Tech looks the best that I can remember. It has really come a long way – the landscaping and the new buildings, and I know there are several other projects in the works that will continue to enhance the campus. I am proud of the university and want it to grow and succeed. Tech has a fine reputation, and I’m happy to do my part in support for other promising students.” 

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