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Loretta Allen

Putting Her Beliefs Into Action By Sabryna Cornish

After 27 years at UIC. Loretta Allen has seen a lot of changes for the better.

Allen, an administrative secretary in math, statistics and computer science, remembers when fences separated UIC from the surrounding community.

"They took those fences down because they wanted to make UIC an open campus," she said.

She has seen the UIC community of students, faculty and staff become more multicultural.

"It didn't used to be like that," she said.

For her own contributions to making UIC and Chicago a better place, Allen is one of this year's winners of the Janice Watkins Award, given to an outstanding support staff member. She is a longtime member of the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Women, including a term as co-chair of the subcommittee that concentrates on conditions of employment.

An active volunteer for her local church, Ashburn United Methodist, she puts her beliefs into practice through community service -including a fundraising drive to help a young boy in need of a kidney transplant.

Allen's family is important to her as well.

She was active in Boy and Girl Scouts and active in their schools when her son, Raphael, and daughter, Nina, were growing up Raphael, who earned a master's of divinity degree, is a minister in Atlanta, GA. Nina starts her junior year in high school this fall and looks forward to college.

"I've always been very involved in my children's education," Allen said. "I really enjoy being a parent."

She cared for her mother, who had Alzheimer's disease, for many years until her recent death.

Allen credits her sister, Mary Arnold, and Gwendolyn Duffin, assistant to the associate provost in urban health, for her success.

She said Duffin was one of her mentors.

"She was a big influence." Allen said.

Now Allen is a mentor herself in the same program. She is also a student these days, working on her master's degree in teaching from Chicago State University.

"I've always been interested in education and teaching." she said. "I never thought I had the time to go back to school.

"In the end, I had to make time."

In her nomination letter, Darlette Willis, graduate secretary in math, statistics and computer science, said that Allen "is a true example of what Janice Watkins represents."

UIC NEWS: Jun 23, 2004