Marjorie Allen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Founding Director of LGU
Olney Haill 126
When I was 19 years old, I spent a year living in England and traveling around Europe. Little did I know then what I know now—that this year became for me the first compass in my journey to understand my place in the world. At the time, I enjoyed talking to the people, soaking in the architecture and art, visiting cities and small towns, noticing the similarities and differences between the United States and the countries I visited. When I came home, I saw the United States and my own town in a new way. I noticed people and places that I had not before. I began to question why different people solved problems differently. I noticed that we in the United States had similar challenges to people who spoke different languages. I wanted to know how I could contribute to making people’s lives better both at home and around the world. I was transformed by studying about and connecting with a global perspective. And I believe that the Leadership and Global Understanding Program offers you an even richer opportunity. I teach the Introductory and Capstone courses in the Leadership and Global Understanding Program. In other words, my job in this program is to provide a context for the travel study courses students take. I help students look carefully at the challenges people face in local, national and global communities.
But this kind of learning, as I discovered in my own life, does not end when students come home from a travel study course, any more than mine did. In college and in my adult life, I have participated in service to my community. I grew up in Long Island, where my father owned a small store. I went to college at the University of Rochester, a small size city. Everywhere I went, from my year in England on, I dedicated myself to civic service. To be an engaged citizen and civic leader, I believe, is to become involved in one’s community. For this reason, from the time I arrived at La Salle after my graduate work in Princeton, I have been committed to connecting La Salle with our Philadelphia community. I began the LGU Exploring Nutrition Program and established LGU partnerships with neighborhood faith based communities. I encourage students to work in service through University Ministry and Service. Leadership and Global Understanding is a program I take pride in because it is the kind of program which links global knowledge and service with local knowledge and service. It is the kind of program I would have wanted at the ages of 19 and 20. And I really enjoy working with LGU students as they engage in their own journey at La Salle.
I have a Ph.D. in English. I have always been fascinated by language—its power and its beauty—and I believe this fascination was what led me to study linguistics and literature. In graduate school, I studied medieval literature and the history of English. Since then, I have become more and more interested in language as a social tool to effect changes in the world. My courses in Language and Prejudice and the Literature of the Holocaust reflect these changing interests. Outside of LGU, my professional passion is helping underprepared students succeed in college, a passion that I have acted upon in my position of Chair at La Salle of the Integrative Studies Program and as a teacher, by choice, in a summer gateway course for students for over 30 years. My personal passions are baseball, reading mysteries, movies, politics and, of course, my friends. My hope in life is to make a difference in the lives of others contributing to a more equitable society. I am the mother of a La Salle graduate and the grandmother of five children and teens. I know they will inherit the world we make for them. I intend to do my part in making that world a better one.
- B.A., University of Rochester
- M.A., Ph.D., Princeton University
Other Professional Activity
I am a member of the Executive Board of the Interfaith Council on the Holocaust where I work to plan programs throughout the city of Philadelphia on Holocaust education.