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WCU Stories

Ken and Ina Allen Alum(s) of the Month

Ken and Ina Allen


Question.) When did each of you graduate from WCU and in what subject areas?

Answer.) Ken: 1982.BSBA Accounting

Ina: 1983 Nursing

Q.) What are some of your fondest memories of your days at WCU?

A.) Ken: I have so many fond memories of my time at Western: The friendships developed with my teammates on the football team including the time spent at practice, the fun we shared living in Madison dorm, eating together in Brown cafeteria, and of course game day in Cullowhee ! Pledging Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the development of lifelong friendships is a wonderful memory. As a School of Business graduate I have fond memories of the many hours I spent in Forsyth Building and the many late nights of FORTRAN and COBOL projects!

Ina: I have many wonderful memories of my time at WCU. All the football games, but especially the one against Appalachian State that was televised in 1978, and basketball games in Reid Gym were a must see! Midnight Breakfasts during exam week were fun and I’ll never forget the snow in Cullowhee on April 21, 1978! I also have fond memories of singing with OES Choir and taking our show on the road. On one road trip, the state vehicle we were using broke down and we had to rent two hotel rooms to sleep in overnight. All the girls piled into one room and the guys in the other! Dinners on the UC law were always fun and the Homecoming concert with Evelyn Champagne King and Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers is something I’ll never forget. Coach Setzer’s shop class is a special memory, that man was a hoot! Finally, The step shows that were held in front of Dodson Cafeteria were amazing and always drew a big crowd!

Q.) Ina, tell us how the two of you met.

A.) We met when Kenny was pledging Omega Psi Phi. I was a “Que Pearl”, which is like a little sister to his fraternity. We didn’t start dating until about a year later.

Q.) Ken, you were a student athlete here at Western. Tell us what it was like playing for legendary football coach Bob Waters.

A.) It was great playing for coach. He was strict but he was always fair. I always felt like he cared for his players beyond just what they could do on the football. He treated us like family.

Q.) Ken and Ina, who were your favorite professors at Western Carolina and why?

A.) Ken: I enjoyed all of my professors in the school business so I don’t really remember any one professor as being a favorite.

Ina: My favorite professor was Vivian Dietz. She was always so open to listening to us as students and was very supportive. I felt as though her objective was not just to teach but also to connect with her students.

Q.) The two of you have had very successful and rewarding careers (Ken in corporate sales and Ina a registered nurse) Tell us a little about your career path since graduating Western.

A.) Ken: After graduating from Western in May 1982, I accepted a job with Lockheed-Martin Corporation as a financial accountant. As a unit leader for the financial accounting group, I was responsible for monthly financial reporting for the Lockheed-GA Division. In June 1987 I graduated from Kennesaw State University with an MBA in accounting. In January 1988 I started my career in technology sales joining IBM as a sales representative and spending the next year completing the IBM sales training program. I worked for IBM for 15 years and during my career I have had the good fortune to work for some of the best technology companies in the world such as Hewlett Packard, Unisys, Fujitsu and Oracle. I am currently a sales director for Oracle Corporation.

Ina: After graduating, I began my nursing career at Crawford W. Long hospital in the post-partum unit in Atlanta, Ga. One year after the birth of our first son, I transferred to the labor and delivery unit. In 1988 we moved to Dayton, OH and after a few months working labor and delivery, I transferred to the newborn intensive care unit and while there I also worked as a childbirth educator. We moved back to Georgia in 1995 and I worked as a clinical applications specialist for Corometrics Medical System, which is now GE Medical Systems. All in all, I spent the majority of my nursing career in women’s health

Q.) You both have been very involved with your alma mater over the years, Ken as a longtime member of WCU’s Alumni Board, and Ina as Chair of the Western Alumni Club of Georgia. Why do you both feel it is important for alumni to stay connected with their university?

A.) Ken: I think it is important to stay connected with the university as a way of giving back to the place that helped me develop as a person and supporting the students.

Ina: For me staying connected has increased my appreciation for having attended and graduated from WCU. The campus is growing and rapidly changing and I like change! The many positive changes that I have seen over the years has motivated me to promote my alma mater to those seeking to advance their education beyond high school.

Q.) Now tell us something unique and interesting about yourselves that few people may know.

A.) Ken: I volunteer in Kairos Prison Ministry spending Saturdays and weekends each month throughout the year in maximum security prisons.

Ina: One thing people may not know about me is that I like to volunteer and help others in the community. I’m involved with many nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta area and one of those organizations is Kairos Prison Ministry International. Ken and I spend many weekends in the prison. I go to the women’s prison and he goes to the men’s, and together we bring the love of Christ to the inmates. I always walk away from those weekends so blessed. It is an amazing thing!

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