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Lander’s Chief of Police Receives Mary Frances Poole Alston Award

Lander University officials present Greg Allen, center, with the Mary Frances Poole Alston Award in recognition of his service to the campus community. From left are Adam Taylor, chief of staff and vice president for Strategic Initiatives; Lander President Richard Cosentino; Van Taylor, interim vice president for University Advancement, and Joe Greenthal, vice president for Finance & Administration. Photo by Laura Wood

Lander University has selected Greg Allen, an employee who “exemplifies integrity,” as the 2023 recipient of the prestigious Mary Frances Poole Alston Award.

Allen, chief of Lander’s Police Department, was hailed as being “a strong leader, hard-working, honest, straightforward, fair dealing and kind” by Joseph T. Greenthal, vice president for Lander’s Finance & Administration, in nominating Allen for the award.

“In his line of work, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the negativity life can sometimes hand us, but Chief Allen has handled some of the most trying cases with dignity, compassion and respect for all people involved,” Greenthal said.

The Alston Award was established by Rowland P. Alston, a longtime host of the SCETV, Emmy Award-winning show, “Making It Grow,” in memory of his grandmother, a 1914 Lander graduate.

The award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium, recognizes a faculty or staff member who has made an impact on the University and the extended community.

Allen, who became a member of the University’s police department in 2007, said the award “is an honor … it is truly a blessing.”

During this service, Allen has served as an investigative sergeant, investigative lieutenant, support service captain and uniform patrol service captain. “I am a dedicated person. When I started here, I told my boss, ‘this is where I am going to be.’”

He earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from South Carolina State University in 1999 and a master's degree in criminal justice in 2017 from Columbia College. Before joining Lander, Allen was an officer for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Department and the South Carolina Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole.

Greenthal said, “Chief Allen’s demeanor is inviting, and he is always level-headed. He creates comfort and adds a calmness in an otherwise chaotic situation.”

Allen also was recognized for being accessible to faculty, staff and students, as well as visitors to campus. “Chief Allen is a great friend to the entire Lander community, and we are fortunate to have him,” Greenthal said.

The police chief has similar praise for his workplace. “To see the growth at Lander, it is unreal. I plan on being here to see more of that growth and the opportunities Lander has for students. This is home,” Allen said.