Ole Miss endowment pays tribute to late Oxford entrepreneur

Published 6:00 am Sunday, August 27, 2017

By Brett Barefoot

Gifts to a new scholarship endowment in the University of Mississippi’s School of Business Administration will honor the life of the late Robert Julian Allen III, a successful entrepreneur who had a strong interest in giving young people opportunities to manage or own a business.

The Robert Julian Allen III Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established with an initial gift from Julian’s wife, Kathy Allen of Oxford, Mississippi.

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“Julian loved Ole Miss and he loved business. Equally, he loved seeing young people succeed in growing an idea into a strong, healthy enterprise that benefits others,” Kathy Allen said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to honor his memory and extend his legacy than by helping to set future entrepreneurs on a path to success.”

Earnings from the endowment will be used to support Mississippi students in the UM School of Business Administration majoring in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Beginning this semester the business school will offer innovation and entrepreneurship as a major to our students,” said Business Dean Ken Cyree. “The endowment in Mr. Allen’s memory is the first scholarship to be established that will support students in this new degree program. This is a special gift.”

Allen was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and lived most of his life in Indianola, Mississippi. He attended Ole Miss, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1970.

After graduation, Allen joined Constructors, Inc., of Fayetteville, Tennessee, where he rose to become president of the company before founding his own general construction company, Allen Corp., in 1976.

In 1980, Allen co-founded Delta Pride Catfish and served on the board as vice president of Delta Western Feed for many years. He was very active in the growth of the catfish industry in the Mississippi Delta, having served two terms as president and two terms as chair of Catfish Farmers of America.

Allen was also founder and partner in R.J. Allen and Associates, Inc., where his development and construction projects expanded across Mississippi and into Tennessee, Florida and Texas. He enjoyed starting companies in a broad range of fields including fitness centers, land mitigation banking, property management and senior housing.

“As a real estate developer and contractor, Julian had a great vision for seeing opportunities that would improve properties, grow businesses, enhance communities and generally make life better for people,” said David Blackburn, Allen’s son-in-law and business partner. “Julian was also always so passionate about helping young people get started in business and I am just one of the many examples of this. Julian gave all of us confidence to believe in ourselves because he believed in us.  I know that he would be pleased that a scholarship in his name is helping future entrepreneurs at Ole Miss.”

The Robert Julian Allen III Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift or contact Brett Barefoot at 662-915-2711 or bmbarefo@olemiss.edu.