Ann Taylor Allen ’65

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Allen FamilyAnn Taylor Allen ’65 comes from a long line of Mawrters: her mother, grandmother and three great-aunts all graduated from Bryn Mawr.
It all began with Ann’s great-grandmother, Melanie Atherton, who was determined that her four daughters receive a college education, something she was not able to experience herself. Melanie sent all of them to Bryn Mawr, despite warnings from her devout Presbyterian community that Bryn Mawr was a hotbed of radical thought. All four daughters graduated.
AllenAnn’s grandmother, Melanie Atherton Updegraff, class of 1908, followed family tradition to become a missionary in India. There, she married, had children and devoted her work to social issues, focusing on schools and education. “That was an expression, in part, of goals she started to formulate at Bryn Mawr,” says Ann, “her generation was socially-minded and tried to do work that would better society.” 

Ann’s mother, Ann Updegraff Allen ’42, continued the Bryn Mawr legacy. Born in a small village in India, Mrs. Allen came to the United States as a teen to attend secondary school, and continued to Bryn Mawr as a history of art major. Ann explains “my mother’s experience at Bryn Mawr was closer to that of an international student than of an American because of her time spent in India. 

AllenIt’s this rich family history that led Ann to suggest that the family establish a scholarship at Bryn Mawr. Together with her brothers, Thomas Allen and Franklin Gordon Allen, they created the Ann Updegraff Allen ’46 and Ann Taylor Allen ’65 Endowed Scholarship for International Students as a tribute to their mother. “Mom knew how fortunate she was in comparison to many others, especially the people in the village of her childhood, and she always wanted to help,” she says.

Ann also appreciates the importance of a college education. As a professor of history at the University of Louisville for the last 40 years, she’s seen firsthand how students struggle to pay for college. “That was a big part of the motivation,” she says, “to help alleviate the struggle of one person attending Bryn Mawr.” 

In the last 10 years, the Ann Updegraff Allen ’46 and Ann Taylor Allen ’65 Endowed Scholarship for International Students has provided financial support for two students through their four years at Bryn Mawr. Recipient Naomi Chebet ’16, from Kenya, became part of the family during her four years on campus. Ann noted, “It was extremely enjoyable getting to know Naomi. It’s nice to put a face to the person you’re helping.” Their newest student, freshman Sorennie Gudissa is from Ethiopia. “Thanks to the Allen Scholarship, I am able to open my mind to more than I thought possible”.