Angel among us
Many a song has been penned and television script written about people doing extraordinary things…
Georgia (Nov 14, 2013) —
Many a song has been penned and television script written about people doing extraordinary things for the benefit of others. For more than 200 Kennesaw State University students, that angel among us is Judy Brown-Allen.
Brown-Allen is a senior lecturer of sociology and an attorney who has helped students facing financial hardships with housing and tuition, and on one occasion, she turned over the title to her 1999 Toyota Camry to a student, so he could work and continue his education.
“The student I gave the car title to was the very first student that I helped,” Brown-Allen said, “and I’m happy to say, he just graduated with a master’s degree in business from Kennesaw State.”
When she came to Kennesaw State in 2003, Brown-Allen had an office in Sturgis Library. One day she noticed a student walk by with a “huge” backpack that appeared to be full of blankets, not books, she recalled. After some amateur sleuthing, Brown-Allen observed the student pretending to work in the student center, clearing plates off a table.
“I believe he was homeless and living on campus,” she said. “I watched him eat a piece of pizza on a plate left by other students, and after seeing that I went into the restroom and cried. He was gone when I came back out, and I didn’t see him again for the rest of the semester.”
Much to her surprise, the very next semester, the same student showed up in the front row of her class – with no book.
“He was one of the sharpest kids in the entire class,” Brown-Allen said.
Another time, Brown-Allen was informed she needed to kick a student out of class for nonpayment of tuition. When she balked at the idea, she was told she had no choice.
“I asked how much does he owe, and I went home and asked my husband if I could put (the charge) on my credit card, and he said yes,” she said.
Since giving her car away, Brown-Allen has raised money for 13 months’ rent for a student breast cancer survivor; helped a homeless student remain in an extended stay hotel for five months until graduation; and established two scholarships to help financially disadvantaged students in good academic standing, among many other acts of generosity.She also created a new campus service organization, “Dr. Allen's Mountain Movers,” which is donating the first $1,000 to the Laura Stewart Scholarship.
In return for her kindness, Brown-Allen a 16-year breast cancer survivor, asks only that the students she helps graduate, and when they can, help others.
“I love seeing students that I’ve helped pay it forward to other students,” she said. “I believe that they will, and I know that they have.”
In recognition of her efforts, the KSU Alumni Association recently bestowed The Betty L. Siegel Faculty Member of the Year Award upon Brown-Allen. In 1992, the Alumni Association established the award as a way to bestow annual recognition to an outstanding faculty member who exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, leadership and service. The award is named for the second President of Kennesaw State University, Dr. Betty Siegel.
In addition to her philanthropic efforts, Brown-Allen serves as chair of President Daniel S. Papp’s CORED Commission on Racial and Ethnic Dialogue, and for the last six years she’s been the advisor to the campus NAACP organization.
“My cancer has come out of remission a couple of times,” Brown-Allen said. “Helping other people helps me to not focus on my cancer. To whom much is given, much is required.”
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.