Catherine Allen: The Song and Dance


Catherine Allen brought a global perspective to her passion for recreational education. In 1944, she volunteered for the Red Cross, eventually serving as Director of Special Activities in the Pacific Theater. Operating from a base in Guam, Allen planned recreation and entertainment activities to boost the morale of the Allied forces. Throughout her service, she relied upon skills honed as a physical education teacher in Georgia schools and as a professor at the University of Tennessee. Her talent for playing the accordion would become a personal trademark. “Cat’s Sing-a-longs” became regular parts of professional conferences and shaped new Bouvé classes into cohesive communities. Through her WWII service to her years as an American cultural ambassador, Allen developed a passion for creating cross-cultural opportunities for her students and peers.

At left: Catherine Allen in the South Pacific, ca. 1944.
Catherine Allen leads a song, ca. 1964.


Allen came to Bouvé-Boston through her professional connection with Dr. Minnie Lynn. The two met at the University of Pittsburgh, where Allen had assumed the position of Director of Special Activities in 1957. She continued this position at Bouvé-Boston at Tufts, and when the School merged with Northeastern University, she took charge of the new Recreation Education department. Allen held successive administrative positions, including College Dean and Special Assistant to the President, for the remainder of her seventeen years at Northeastern.

Top left: Catherine Allen performs at parents' weekend, 1963.
Top right: Dr. Catherine Allen speaks with Northeastern University President Asa Knowles, ca. 1965.
Bottom right: Dr. Catherine Allen poses with Bouvé alumnae, ca. 1970.