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Donor gives $2 million to endow prof. chair

Published: March 7, 2008
Section: Front Page


Helaine Allen of Palm Beach recently donated $2 million to Brandeis University in order to create the Helaine and Alvin Allen Professorship in Literature. This gift will endow an Assistant Professor in Literature, the first of whom is Assistant Professor Harleen Singh in the Department of English and American Literature.

Prof. Singh holds a joint appointment in the Departments of German, Russian, and Asian Languages, Literatures, and Women’s and Gender Studies, but specializes in South Asian Literature. “I’m very happy and honored to have received this endowed chair in literature at Brandeis,” said Prof. Singh.

This gift will assist in “covering Prof. Singh’s salary and benefits,” said Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe, “and will be used similarly…when Prof. Singh is either promoted or leaves Brandeis.” The gift also helps a larger Brandeis initiative to develop the study of the humanities at Brandeis and other colleges and universities.

“We are pleased to partner with Helaine on this pioneering initiative, which will benefit our students for generations to come,” President Jehuda Reinharz said in the Palm Beach Daily News, “we thank her for this investment in Brandeis’s future. She and Alvin have been steadfast friends to the university and me personally.”

Mrs. Allen, a member and past co-chair of the National Board of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, said she was “especially involved and interested” in Prof. Singh’s work in the women’s research program at Brandeis, according to the Palm Beach Daily News’ report.

Mrs. Allen’s activity in the Brandeis community makes her the third generation of her family to be involved in university affairs. Her parents, Theodore W. and Evelyn Berenson, donated gifts to establish the Theodore W. and Evelyn G. Berenson Endowed Chair in Mathematics and the Berenson Wing of the Abelson Physics Building and were members of the University’s Board of Fellows.

Mrs. Allen was made a Brandeis Fellow in 1996 and has been a strong supporter, along with her late husband Alvin, of the Women’s Studies Research Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Mr. and Mrs. Allen also endowed and created a visiting professorship in women’s studies and the Alvin B. and Helaine Allen Endowed Scholarship.

Elizabeth Allen Nash, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Allen, graduated from Brandeis in 1973.