Douglas Allen, 67: Professor had passion for studies abroad

Doug Allen wanted to make a difference, and he did.

Allen taught architecture at Georgia Tech for 37 years and spent a year as visiting professor at Harvard. He co-founded the Georgia Tech study-abroad program in Italy.

“He was devoted to his family and students, he loved teaching and he loved life,” said Kathy Hill Allen, his wife of 41 years.

The Atlanta native influenced generations of students including former students Michael Arad, who won the competition for the design of The World Trade Center Memorial in 2004; and Marie Acalin, with Ross Piper Architecture.

“His classes were inspiring, challenging, and entertaining,” said Acalin. “It was evident to all of his students that Doug was a man of incredible integrity, a hard worker, and a humble, generous person.”

Allen had a passion for urban landscapes from ancient Greece and Rome. For more than 20 years he led the study-abroad program, until his retirement in 2013.

Acalin recalls studying abroad with Allen: “He did not carry around a single sheet of paper but rather taught us the history directly from his memory. He was like an encyclopedia.”

Allen was the recipient of the ANAK Award in 2006, bestowed by a Georgia Tech secret society to a professor for contributions to students. It was one of his proudest moments.

Douglas C. Allen, of Atlanta died Oct. 26 of cancer. He was 67. A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 1328 Peachtree St., Atlanta. H.M. Patterson & Sons at Spring Hill is in charge of arrangements.

“He had a certain charisma that made you feel comfortable,” said Kathy Allen of her husband.

“He was someone I fell for immediately.”

Allen remembers the night she met her husband, on a blind date. The couple went ice skating in Roswell. The rink only had small-size skates available. He squeezed his foot into them anyway.

“He didn’t wan to ruin the moment; that was my first indication he was a good guy,” she said.

Allen was a graduate of Brown High School in Atlanta. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. In 1976 he earned a master’s in landscape architecture from Harvard University, where he was awarded the ASLA Certificate of Honor for “excellence in the study of landscape architecture.” Allen was also a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

“He was a great intellectual person who was passionate about seeking the truth,” said friend Bill Haley.

Acalin says she will always remember what Allen told the class on their last day: “The city is the largest man-made artifact ever made. It was here before us and will be here when we are gone. You are the curators of this artifact. Care for it,” Allen said.

In addition to his wife, Allen is survived by daughter Jordan Allen DeLoach and two grandchildren.