Ivan Allen

Born: 
1911 to 2003
Initially an indifferent student, Allen, Jr. asserted himself during his last year at Boys High, earning a spot on the honor roll. In 1929, he enrolled in the School of Commerce at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During his first year at Georgia Tech, he was one of only five students in the student body of about two thousand to make straight A’s. He graduated cum laude in 1933, with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce. While at Georgia Tech, he served as president of the student body, vice president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, cadet colonel of the ROTC, president of ODK, vice-president of ANAK, president the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, was a member of the Honor Roll, and a member of the Dean’s List. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 1933 during the depths of the Great Depression, Allen, Jr. refused offers from other companies and began his lifetime of work in the family business, which was at the time called the Ivan Allen-Marshall Company. That summer, he worked in the basement of the business, learning from a black employee named Arthur Wright and earning $100 per month. At the time, the business consisted of one Atlanta store and grossed $196,000. He continued working at the company until he was called to the army to serve in World War II from 1942-1945. After the War, he worked in the statehouse from the fall of 1945 until the spring of 1946, when he became president his father’s company in. By 1949, the firm had more than two hundred employees and annual revenues of several million dollars. Together with his father, he changed the name to the Ivan Allen Company in 1953. The company would flourish over the next four decades under his leadership. While working at Ivan Allen-Marshall Company, he began to participate in civic affairs, such as the Boy Scouts and the Community Chest. He served as a member of the state Board of Education and the state Department of Veteran Services. He was a director of the Bank of Georgia, a trustee at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, an executive board member of the state’s Family Welfare Society and of the Atlanta YMCA, president of the Young Democrats Club of Georgia, and president of the Atlanta Improvement Association (1951).