Dr. Dennis W. Allen, a beloved emeritus professor of English, started his illustrious career at WVU in 1982, inspiring students with his intellect, wit, and kindness. He retired from the university in 2017 but continued to teach courses for WVU's Honors College. Dennis was the recipient of numerous awards for his teaching, including the WVU Foundation teaching award and the Eberly College teaching award, which he won three times. In addition, the WVU chapter of the English honorary society Sigma Tau Delta twice named him outstanding teacher, and he was recognized as Outstanding Faculty Member by the Golden Key National Honor Society. Dennis found these latter two awards especially meaningful because they were given by students.
In the classroom, Dennis was famous for illuminating literary classics by comparing them to contemporary songs, movies, TV shows, and politics. He encouraged his students to share their ideas, insights, and opinions on all sorts of subjects, and his classroom discussions were at once playful and serious, free-wheeling and vigorous. To step into one of his classes was to step into a kind of intellectual magic show. It was hard not to be both entertained and awed.
Dennis taught numerous versions of eleven different undergraduate courses and thirteen different graduate courses. He served on over seventy doctoral student committees. He supported and advocated for the LBGTQ+ community on campus, and he was instrumental in introducing courses into the English curriculum that reflect the diversity of WVU students and their interests.
Help us celebrate the lasting, positive impact Dennis had on the WVU community and continue his legacy of supporting students and colleagues by making a gift today as we come together to establish a memorial fund in his honor. This fund shall support operations within the Department of English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences including but not limited to graduate or undergraduate conference attendance, faculty conference attendance, event support, travel, research support.