Davis & Elkins College Announces Joyce Butler McKee Allen Chair in Education

Date Posted: 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College Board of Trustees Chair June Myles announced the creation of the Joyce Butler McKee Allen Chair in Education at the College during Saturday’s Commencement ceremonies. The $1 million endowed chair, a gift from Joyce Allen’s four children, will provide a professorship, as well as professional development opportunities, to enhance D&E’s teacher education program.

A College trustee since 1992 and a retired educator, Allen is completing her final term on the Davis & Elkins Board of Trustees. According to Davis & Elkins College President Michael P. Mihalyo Jr., the new Allen chair will not only lend distinction to D&E’s program, but also ensure the curriculum addresses a wide range of learning needs and challenges in West Virginia’s classrooms.

“Joyce Allen has been committed to education throughout her adult life,” says Mihalyo, “and we are most grateful to Joyce and her family for this tremendous gift to Davis & Elkins College, our students and the state of West Virginia. This chair will change lives – of both our graduates in teacher education and also their students. Its impact will be profound and far reaching.”

In commenting on the Chair, Allen’s son, John C. Allen Jr., said: “We wanted to honor her and her commitment to education, not only at Davis & Elkins College, but throughout her whole life as an educator. She learned from her parents the value of education and that education is the fundamental building block of improving a community.”

The Allens are also the parents of Susan McKee Crimmins, Thomas Braxton McKee and Peter Kingsley McKee Jr.

“Mom has worked so hard for 20 years at Davis & Elkins, and also before that as a teacher,” John C. Allen Jr. continued. “She is very committed to education, so this seems like a fitting honor for her and we’re really pleased to do it as her children. We all benefited from her commitment to education and requiring us to be diligent about it as well.”

Joyce Allen attended Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia and received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Salem College, and worked as an educator and reading specialist in Harrison County schools.

“My parents valued higher education,” Joyce Allen says. “Had it not been for scholarships, my siblings and I would not have gotten college educations. We were a family of 10 and we all attained college degrees, as well as many professional degrees.”

Throughout her education and career, Joyce Allen made the observation that a student’s positive learning experience begins with the teacher. To that end, she wants to ensure that the Chair provides education majors with a curriculum that will focus on the diagnosis and remediation of myriad learning challenges.

“It’s important for those students going into the field of teaching to recognize the different ways of learning and how to adjust to them,” Joyce Allen explains. “Every child should have every opportunity to get a learning experience and enjoy it.”

Allen has served D&E with distinction as a member of the academic affairs, development and student affairs committees of the Board. She co-chaired the College’s highly successful Centennial Campaign, and just this year, along with her husband, John C. Allen, co-presented with Mike Ross, a Christmas Concert with D&E artist-in-residence Jack Gibbons.

She also has served other colleges and universities, including on the advisory board of the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts, the board of WVU’s Blaney House, and the president’s council at Mary Washington College. She is an active volunteer and philanthropist, serving in Rotary, United Way, the Goff Garden Club, Coterie and the Presbyterian Church. She holds a Presbyterian Women Life Membership, is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary, and, along with her husband, has been named West Virginia Philanthropist of the Year.

The Davis & Elkins College Teacher Education Program prepares competent, caring and qualified teachers for schools in Appalachia and in national and global communities. Students seeking certification in Elementary Education grades K-6 undertake a major in Education, which leads to the awarding of a Bachelor of Arts degree. A student seeking certification in a content specialization (grades 5-9, and/or 9-adult) must declare a major outside of Education with a declared minor in Education.

Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information about the College and how you can support its students and programs, please contact Carol Schuler, Vice President for Development, at 304-642-5576 or visit www.dewv.edu.