The William B. Allen Pacific Islander Endowment Fund provides support to students from Southeast Asia and/or the Pacific Islands region, including Hawai’i and the Philippines. This Fund was established by the Donor in honor of her grandfather, William B. Allen. It was through him that she inherited her love of international service and foreign travel.
Requirements: The prospective recipient should have some degree of financial need, not determined by federal guidelines. Must be residents of Southeast Asia and/or the Pacific Islands region, including Hawai’i and the Philippines. Preference to students from Southeast Asia and/or the Pacific Islands region, and the Philippines. Awards shall be determined by the selection committee based on the availability of funds. Recipients are eligible for award renewal, for up to four consecutive years, so long as all criteria are met and the recipients are currently enrolled in the University of Hawai’i. Awarded to undergraduate or graduate with preference to undergraduate students.
Apply: Go to http://www.star.hawaii.edu/scholarship and search for “William B Allen” under keyword search.
Born in Orange County Indiana, William Baird Allen spent his early years moving with his parents from one small Indiana town to another. John Thomas Allen, his father, was a Methodist preacher.
By the time he was of an age to attend high school, his father had been assigned to serve as a pastor in Minnesota. William graduated from Northfield High School on Friday May 31, 1901. Two worn newspaper articles report how the speakers were chosen for the high school commencement. Each of the top students was asked to write an essay. The speakers, the newspaper reported, would be chosen based on the essays. Will’s essay was selected. He spoke on the topic “The Result of Honest Determination.” High school was a three and a half year course. William graduated with a diploma for the Latin Scientific Course.
The following fall he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota and enrolled at Hamline College, now Hamline University. Typical of the mid 1800s in rural America, neither of his parents had much of a formal education. However, they both were able to read and write and placed a high value on attending school.
William, called “Will” by his friends and family, attended Hamline for at least three or more years. Each of the yearbooks, 1901-1904 include pictures of Will showing his involvement in coursework and school activities but for unknown reasons, he apparently did not earn a degree from that college.
He spent at least a year teaching in Minneapolis or St. Paul schools. During this year of teaching or perhaps at Hamline he met and fell in love with the woman he would one day marry, Harriet Taylor.
The U.S. Government, in the early 1900s, had embarked on a program to help the Philippine people develop a democratic form of government. They also were determined to help construct a strong education system. So they actively recruited American teachers, most of whom were young and had adventurous spirits.
Will responded to that call. He left Seattle, Washington, on the 29th of April 1906. His early teaching assignment in the Philippine Islands was in Cavite. In 1907 he moved to Dapa, Surigao Province, Mindinao. Beginning in 1909, he became a supervising teacher overseeing schools in Cavite, San Roque, Caridad and on the Island of Corregidor.
Will convinced Harriet Taylor to come out to Manila. On May 31, 1907 she arrived. The two reconfirmed their commitment to each other, went immediately to the Central Methodist Church in Manila and were married. Harriet, already an experienced teacher, joined her new husband teaching in the high school in Dapa.
A year later, their first child, Betty Allen, was born in Manila. After two more adventurous years, the Allens felt that it was time to return to the United States. They did not come directly back to America, deciding instead to travel on around the world. Most of their travel was by ship. They stopped briefly in Hong Kong, then Singapore, Penang, Malaysia, Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, France and finally England.
Harriet was born in Yorkshire and still had family living in the West Riding. Going up to the north of England was a must. Then it was back to London and by ship home to New York City.
After a brief time spent with family and friends in Minnesota, they came west to eastern Oregon. Nyssa, Oregon, was their home for almost a year while Will taught high school.
By 1911 Portland, Oregon, became their permanent home. Will taught briefly, probably as a substitute high school teacher. But there were more interesting jobs to be done in a growing city. He changed from educator to real estate and insurance sales. This was the career he followed for the rest of his working life.
Will’s love of travel did not diminish. He loved road trips so he and his wife took several long driving trips around the United States. They went to Canada several times and even went briefly to Cuba.
Late in his sixties Will developed a rare form of leukemia. He died at age 67 and is buried in Riverview Cemetery, Portland.
The love of travel and international service did not cease with Will’s death. One of his granddaughters, the author of this short biography, inherited that same adventurous spirit. Sixty years after Will’s arrival in the Philippine Islands, the writer of this sketch flew to American Samoa to begin teaching in the high school and later in the teacher’s training college.