Dr. Brian Allen ’82 & Dr. Lynda Allen ’82/’88 MBA
Enjoying each other’s company and the company of others is the connection that Brian and Lynda Allen share. From the first day they met as teenagers at church in Plymouth, Michigan, to this day, they’ve found joy in relationships and building community. Brian and Lynda met when Brian’s father came to pastor the church where Lynda and her family attended.
“I was 14, and he was 16,” Lynda recalls. “We were fast friends.”
They married while they were students at Olivet Nazarene University.
“For the first year of our marriage, we were resident directors in LeVasseur Apartments,” Brian recalls. “That was a fun and unique way to start our marriage.” Both have served in a variety of positions at Olivet. Lynda’s first full-time job was working with Dr. Jim Knight in the registrar’s office. Brian began as a member of the admissions team.
Today, Lynda is a professor in Olivet’s McGraw School of Business, teaching the freshman-level Principles of Marketing course and a capstone leadership and ethics course for seniors. She also facilitates and leads students in projects to help local community businesses grow.
“Developing relationships with students and continuing friendships with them after they graduate makes my work so meaningful,” she says. “I’m an introvert, but relating with students, praying with them, hosting them as guests in our home gives me great joy. Every contact and conversation I have with my students helps me understand them at a different level. I still go home each day grateful for the work I’m privileged to do.”
Brian serves as vice president for institutional advancement at Olivet. He remembers walking across campus on the day Kelley Prayer Chapel was dedicated.
“That day, I sensed from God that my ministry would be on the campus of Olivet,” he says. “I’ve been a fulltime employee here for 40 years.”
One of Brian’s greatest joys is being part of how Olivet shows up in the world.
“We love seeing people thrive at Olivet,” he says. “Wherever our students go, a part of Lynda and me goes with them.”
Their commitment to building community is the thread that weaves young adults, campus faculty and staff, local residents, and the worldwide Olivet alumni network into their lives.
“Lynda has the gift of hospitality,” Brian says. “We believe that God gave us our house for sharing. One of our delights is entertaining students in our home. I believe some of Lynda’s best teaching happens around our kitchen table.”
“We often talk and pray together about ONU, our concerns, our work,” Lynda says. “We both care about this university in the same way but from different perspectives. When I attend fundraising events with Brian, I meet people who are donating to my work. When he welcomes my students into our home, he connects his work with current students.”
The Allens are the parents of three adult children: Kyle ’09/’18 MBA, who lives in Kankakee and works for a Chicago-based brokerage company; Shelby ’13 and her husband, Adam Guest, who are elementary school teachers at the same school in Louisville, Kentucky; and Spencer ’17, who is a project engineer for Eli Lilly in Indianapolis. Brian and Lynda are also the grandparents of Kyle’s daughters, Ainsley, 8, and Dylan, 5.
Brian and Lynda intentionally plan their hectic schedules so they have time to spend together. Every morning they walk and share coffee and devotions together. They enjoy being spontaneous — an impromptu date to their favorite restaurant in Oak Brook or a fun road trip to a new destination.
“We are debtors,” Brian says. “We have received more than we’ve given. We care about all of Olivet, not just the jobs we have individually. God called us to this place, not these positions. It’s a great time to invest in work that matters. This work matters.”
From Olivet The Magazine, Strength & Hope – Autumn 2023. Read the full issue HERE.