Dr. Jerry Allen Scholarship honors long-time biology professor

Northwestern State University’s School of Biological and Physical Sciences is creating a scholarship to honor a late faculty member who inspired and influenced microbiology students for 35 years.  

The Dr. Jerry Allen Memorial Scholarship was created through an initial donation of $2,000 from the School to the NSU Foundation with plans to make annual donations until the scholarship is fully endowed at $10,000.  

“Dr. Allen played a huge part in my love for microbiology and research,” said Dr. Christopher Lyles, department head. We, the faculty and staff, miss him and often reminisce about his classes, a sentiment I believe is shared by many people that went to school here at NSU.” 

“Our family is absolutely delighted by this,” said daughter Kathy Allen Fulton, a 1993 NSU graduate. “As kids, we all thought our dad was pretty special. When we grew up and heard the same from our friends who took his classes it made us all proud to be ‘Dr. Allen’s’ kids. That continues to this day.” 

Allen was born in Calvin in 1936 and spent his career as professor of microbiology, teaching and at times leading the department there from 1970 until his retirement in 2005.  

Allen was widely loved by his students, of whom he frequently spoke fondly. He taught advanced microbiology, immunology and virology courses as well as introductory science courses. Any medical or nursing student at Northwestern during his tenure would have encountered Dr. Allen’s classes. Those students have gone on to research, patient care and other influential roles across northwest Louisiana and around the globe. 

Following a research fellowship at Rocky Mountain Laboratory / National Institutes of Health, Allen gained a prestigious post-doctoral position at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he met the love of his life, Mary and quickly became father to Mary’s daughters Mary and Nancy.  

Following their marriage in August 1970, the family was soon joined by the couple’s three younger children, Kathy, Jerry Lee II, a 2001 graduate, and Becca, a Lady Demon softball player and 1999 NSU graduate.  

During his career, Allen was a prolific researcher, author and speaker and was invited to speak on his work at conferences around the globe.  In addition to working at NSU, he spent many years as the bacteriologist for Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.              

Allen was a veteran of the United States Army, having been drafted into service and serving as a cryptographer at posts in the US and post-war Korea.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette), a master’s from Northwestern State and a Ph.D. in microbiology from Louisiana State University.  

He passed away in May 2021.  

Friends can contribute towards the endowment by visiting www.northwesternstatealumni.com.