Wife’s environmental work lives on thanks to Phil Allen’s memorial fellowship gift

Phil Allen with Don and Shirley Beggs
Phil Allen, center, recently met for lunch with Wichita State President Don Beggs and First Lady Shirley Beggs to discuss his gift establishing the June Stone Allen Graduate Fellowship in memory of his wife.

 

From the time she was in her early 30s and read Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking “Silent Spring,” June Stone Allen committed herself to environmental activism she hoped would make the world safer and its inhabitants healthier.

Almost two years after June Allen’s death, her husband, Phil Allen, has taken steps he hopes will memorialize her efforts while helping others to continue fighting on the environmental front.

Allen has established the June Stone Allen Graduate Fellowship to benefit graduate students affiliated with the WSU Center for Environment and Human Health. The center is a statewide clearinghouse emphasizing research on the environment and its impact on human wellbeing.

“June was always very aware of social responsibilities and the need for activism based on evidence,” Allen said. “I thought this would be an ideal way to continue the kind of work she was involved in.”

June’s work led to her serving on President Carter’s commission to review the Three Mile Island accident and the board for the Committee for Nuclear Responsibility. She was invited twice to testify before U.S. Senate committees on energy, environmental and health issues.

“I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that, whatever her subject, she was one of the best speakers I have ever heard,” Allen said.

June grew up in Vermont and attended the university there, majoring in music and, at the graduate level, in English literature.

Phil and June were married for nearly 50 years, spending the first 20 years in Virginia. After moving to Wichita, June worked in the WSU Office of Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning and was active in the WSU Dames/ WSU Women’s Association. She died in 2010 from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Allen, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, earned his medical degree from Harvard and a doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Virginia. After retiring from the practice of pathology, he taught biostatistics at both Wichita State and the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.

He has met the first two recipients of the fellowship, and he’s impressed. He thinks June would have been, too.

“They are bright women,” he said. “June would have appreciated their work.”

To learn how you can establish a scholarship, please contact Terre Johnson, WSU Foundation vice president for major gifts, at (316) 978-3808 or terre.johnson@wichita.edu.

 
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