10 fast facts about La Salle’s next president

March 8, 2022

President-elect visit

Introduced as La Salle’s President-elect in February, Daniel J. Allen, Ph.D., officially joins the campus community April 18 when he begins his University presidency.

Here are some fast facts to help you get to know La Salle’s President-elect:

He’s from the Midwest.

Allen’s hometown is Joliet, Ill., about an hour’s drive from Chicago. He’s the oldest of four children born to Carol, a nurse, and Dan, a public school teacher, dean of students, and coach. (Coincidentally, Allen and his three siblings each have three children.)

He’s a product of Catholic education.

Allen attended Catholic schools at the elementary- and high-school levels before completing undergraduate and graduate programs at Loras College, a Catholic college in Dubuque, Iowa, and completing his doctoral studies at Loyola University-Chicago.

The Christian Brothers inspired his doctoral dissertation.

Allen earned a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in higher education. At the time, he held a senior leadership role at Lewis University, another Lasallian institution. While there, he said, the charism of the Christian Brothers—in so far as their commitment to issues of social justice and representation for marginalized communities—inspired his doctoral dissertation and research interests on access to higher education for first-generation students, students of color, and low-income students.

President-elect visit

Michael Jordan is his favorite athlete.

Naturally, given his geographic roots, he’s a Bulls fan. “Don’t enter into a conversation with me about who the greatest (basketball player) of all time is, because it’s M.J.,” he said, laughing.

He played Division III basketball.

Speaking of basketball, Allen suited up for Loras College from 1986–90. He still ranks among the program’s all-time leaders with 226 career assists. He played his final two seasons for Brad Soderberg, an assistant coach for the University of Virginia, which won a Division I men’s basketball championship in 2019.

He once knocked down the game-winning shot.

As a senior, and with his family in the stands and girlfriend (now wife) on the sideline, Allen made a 3-pointer to help Loras beat Simpson College, 65-62, in the final home game of his basketball career. “I remember this like it was yesterday,” Allen said. “We had called a timeout and drew up a play. It was coming to me. I was walking to my position on the floor to get into the set. I got the ball, took a deep 3 from the wing, and I buried it. Trust me—I didn’t do that very often.”

He’s an avid reader.

Allen counts William Shakespeare’s King Lear among his favorites. He’s also a fan of American literature. In particular? Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird “is a story that is influential to me.” Allen studied English literature as an undergraduate at Loras College in Iowa.

He’s passionate about the arts.

Allen listens to jazz music in the evening and on weekends, opera in his office, and up-tempo music while working out. He and his wife, Theresa, enjoy the performing arts and live theater.

He met his wife as an undergraduate.

“The most important moment of my college experience was meeting Theresa,” Allen said of his wife, to whom he’s been married for nearly 29 years. They have three children—Maggie, 27; Meghan, 24; and Danny, 21.

He’s a four-time marathoner.

Allen has completed four marathons, including two in Chicago. His best finish in the 26.2-mile event is 3 hours, 42 minutes. “Unfortunately,” he said, “my body can’t tolerate the training and miles these days.” He still enjoys running recreationally—just at shorter distances.

—Christopher A. Vito