March 3, 2011 Volume CXXIX Issue 6

Dr. Allen… One Lucky Woman

Staff Writer

“Dr. Allen knows what started the Big Bang. But she’s not telling.” - Dr. Barbara Burch

Dr. Rosemary Allen, also known as Provost and Dean of the college, is one lucky woman. Twentyseven years ago she was walking down a hall of her alma mater, Vanderbilt, when she just happened to bump into an old professor. He had just gotten off the phone with Dr. Steve May, the Shakespeare professor at Georgetown who was desperately looking for someone to fill in for him as he took a year long sabbatical. Since she was the first person her professor ran into, he asked if she was interested and, as she says now, “the rest is history.” The year turned into a couple, then a full-time faculty position in the English department and, in 2004, a position as Provost and Dean of the college.

Yet gaining the opportunity for work, and eventually the prestigious position she holds today is not the only luck she found at Vanderbilt. This is also where she found love in the form of another well-known name here at Georgetown, Todd Coke.

“He’s older than me,” says Allen, “but I had been there longer. And every fall you kind of check out the new group of grad students to see if there is anybody interesting; that’s how we met.”

The couple have been married for 27 years and Dr. Allen laughs when saying that the most interesting fact about her is that she has put up with Dr. Coke for all these years. When told that many students are shocked to find out that they are married because of their completely different personalities, she smiles and says that there is a lot of balance that students don’t see.

The couple also enjoy traveling to various historical places mentioned in novels or significant to English literature. They have visited places as close as Ciro, Illinois, a location from Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” and as far as England to Box Hill, a location in Jane Austen’s “Emma.” Dr. Allen believes that so much can be learned about authors’ intentions when you actually see the places they are talking about, “It really connects you to the language,” she says.

In her spare time, and there’s not much with such a busy job, Dr. Allen enjoys gardening. It’s “the thing that I do that is totally not being Provost or grading papers, the non-mental part of my life,” she adds.

She enjoys the idea of spending time outdoors, digging in the dirt and freeing her mind from the world of academics. She then adds that in doing this completely non-academic activity, she thinks of poets like Wordsworth who connected with nature and that her favorite flower is the hydrangea because of its literary associations. Non-academic, right.

Allen also enjoys making jewelry (many of the earrings she wears are of her own creation) and watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episodes. She says she has probably watched the whole series three times through, usually from her iPhone while on the treadmill in the Rec. She even keeps a wooden stake on her desk, no joke. It is just feet away from her extensive collection of Shakespeare memorabilia, which could soon have the new addition of a tea pot in the form of the great poet if she decides to put in a bid online.

Shakespeare is Dr. Allen’s favorite class she teaches. That’s right, she’s Provost and yet still finds time to teach one class every semester. She admits that what she misses most about just being a professor is time in the classroom with students. She misses working with English 111 students and helping them grow in their writing abilities.

Allen says she would prefer to grade papers rather than attend budget meetings any day. She doesn’t even get her own parking spot, which she doesn’t mind because it would be idiotic to drive a block when she stays on campus all day.

So for now Allen will just have to sacrifice time in the classroom for the occasional fancy dinner out or Lakers vs. Celtics game (yes, she wore a suit to that too), paid for by people trying to sell stuff to the college. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

As for her advice to Georgetown students, Dr. Allen says, “Get involved, but don’t over fragment yourself. Actually get your work done and enjoy it.”


Chief Emeritus

Haley Howard shows her crazy eyes at Thai Garden.

I really wish I could just print a transcript of senior Haley Howard’s responses to all of my questions. There is simply no way that I can convey her laid-back and subtly hysterical persona within these 600 words. However, I will once again attempt the impossible.

Howard is from Harlan, Ky. In her words, “the town where the FX show ‘Justified’ is supposed to be set.” This senior ended up at GC for a very understandable reason: “I applied to only three schools my senior year. I got into all three, but Georgetown was the only school to actively pursue me, and I liked the attention.”

At Georgetown, Howard has spent the last four years studying English (as her major) and music (as her minor). She honestly and humorously explained the combination as follows: “According to my family, because I want to live in poverty. My first love is music, but I wanted to study something a little more ‘practical.’ The original plan was to major in Communications, but then I took an English class my freshmen year and that changed my mind. I’ve been an English major ever since.”

As Howard begins to look back on her years here, she boldly states that there is nothing she would have done differently. In terms of how she’s changed since her freshman days, Howard commented: “Oh, I’m much more hateful and crazy, that’s for sure.” Take that as you will. And as she begins to look toward the future, she feels much the same way that most seniors do about graduation: “It’s exciting and frightening. Frixciting?” In case you didn’t know, inventing obscure words on the fly is one of the esteemed privileges of being an English major (I would know).

In terms of GC favorites, Howard cites Women’s Studies with Dr. Gretchen Ziegenhals as her favorite class, adding “and yeah, I’m a feminist.” Her favorite professor award goes to Dr. Rosemary Allen, who is also Howard’s hero. Howard explained: “She’s brilliant and a fantastic educator. I didn’t have a complete draft for one of my paper conferences and she didn’t deduct any points. Also, she’s pretty hot.” Is she joking? I guess we’ll never know. Though it does sound pretty unlikely for points to not be deducted during a paper conference with an incomplete draft.

And finally in the queue of favorites, Howard offered her opinion on CEPs: “I’m in a bunch of CEPs with choir and other performances. I remember my freshmen year, LTS’ OpShop lasted three hours. That was brutal for both the audience and the performers, so that’s my least favorite. The CEPs I enjoyed the most were the Faust ones where the National Players would come and perform plays. Once I saw ‘As You Like It,’ and another I saw ‘1984.’”

Oh. I lied. One more favorite. One might say that Howard’s favorite person is her boyfriend Chuck Harris. The two have been dating for almost three years now. Howard lovingly describes her boyfriend as follows: “He has seven fingers, three toes (debatable) and sings like a girl.” Harris described his girlfriend in turn, saying that she is “funny as heck**.”

Funniness aside, the realization of being a senior is definitely one which Howard is being chased by: “Yes, it’s hit me. I’m already going through my ‘lasts’ of everything: last LTS production, last Spring semester. It’s getting too real. I feel safe in my Georgetown bubble, and it’s scary to have to leave.”

As she prepares to depart from GC, she sums up her four years of wisdom in a single phrase, leaving the following advice to underclassmen: “’You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.’”

**Original word could not be printed due to the questionable nature of its cultural meaning.


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