March 4, 2011
By Patrick Hayes, U of S Archives
Here we have a portrait of William Allen taken a year before the creation of the University of Saskatchewan (1907). He was born in England, near Bristol, in 1892, and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1911, taking out a homestead at Smiley, Saskatchewan. He joined the army in 1915, was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and was sent to the Beaufort War Hospital to recuperate. Discharged in 1917, Allen enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan as an associate student in Agriculture, transferring to the degree course and graduating in 1922.
His studies took him to Harvard and Cornell Universities where he earned a PhD in 1925. He returned to the U of S, organizing and serving as the first head of the Department of Farm Management. He resigned in 1938 to accept the position of the first Commissioner to Britain for Canadian Agriculture. In 1941, while enroute to England, he lost his life at sea when the steamship Nerissaa he was on was torpedoed.
The Allen Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the top graduating student in Agricultural Economics. He is also memorialized with a plaque in Convocation Hall which reads in part: “His sincere, manly character inspired the respect of many friends, especially the farmers of Saskatchewan for whom he did so much.”
Office of Communications, University of Saskatchewan