Fiat Honoring Abigail Allen
Alfred University’s long and storied history of inclusivity is reflected in the work of Abigail Allen, renowned teacher, suffragist, abolitionist, and devoted advocate for co-education.
On Friday, April 23, our University unveiled a plaque next to Carnegie Hall which honors Allen’s legacy. Supported by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the National Collaborative for Women’s Historic Sites program, the plaque is part of the National Votes for Women Trail, which celebrates the contributions of women to American history.
Allen was the wife of Jonathan Allen, Alfred University’s second president. Both she and Jonathan Allen graduated from Alfred in 1844, nearly a decade after our institution’s founding as the Alfred Select School in 1836. Abigail, who taught at our University for more than 50 years, epitomized the energy of the 19th century progressive movement in the United States.
A passionate champion for women’s rights, Abigail spoke in 1873 at the Women’s Congress in New York City, urging her audience to: “Be radical, radical to the core.” That message has been embraced by Alfred University, which has encouraged generations of students to speak publicly on important issues.
Alfred University, the first institution of higher education in the country to admit and allow women to pursue the same full course of studies offered to male students, has long honored Allen’s legacy as an advocate for women. Each year, for example, we present the Abigail Allen award to honor a faculty/staff member who has contributed to our campus community by improving the quality of women’s lives. This year’s award, presented at our Honors Convocation on April 23, went to Chase Angier, professor of dance and chair of our Performing Arts division.
We honor Abigail Allen further with the installation of the plaque outside Carnegie Hall. The plaque project was spearheaded by Becky Prophet ’70, professor of Theater, and Laurie Lounsberry Meehan ’91, University archivist. Prophet learned of the Pomeroy Foundation project from a relative and former Alfred University History professor Gary Horowitz. Becky and Laurie completed the project grant application.
Of course, our greatest tribute to Abigail Allen will be to encourage our students to do their utmost to foster equality and inclusivity—both on campus and in the broader world—thereby answering Allen’s call to “be radical, radical to the core.”
Fiat honoring Abigail Allen!