Behind the Scenes: Questions for Patricia Allen
By Jennifer Potanka ’11, Staff Writer
What is your position at the College? What does a typical day at work entail?

I coordinate major events. Days are really varied depending on the upcoming events. Right now, I am working on the Tomlinson Education event for the end of March and on the 2010 Commencement, overseeing senior events, arranging for the visits of honorary degree recipients, talking with families of seniors and working with vendors on canes, videos and photographs.

Where did you grow up?

Turners Falls, Mass.

What was your childhood like?

My memories of childhood are mostly of being outdoors. We spent all of our summers at a camp on the Connecticut River — hiking, swimming and boating with my extended family. The quarters were rough, but the experience prepared me for my years as an outdoor trainer for adults in Girl Scouts.

How did you end up in Amherst?

For many years I was a health insurance consultant to the College, and when the benefits position opened in Human Resources, I was asked to apply.

What is your family like? Do you have any pets?

I live with my husband, Barry Dow, and our golden retriever, Cassie. We have two children: Amanda, a college softball coach in R.I., and Matthew, an Enterprise manager outside of Boston.

What is your favorite place in the world?

No favorites, but many great places — Prince Edward Island, the Outer Banks, the Connecticut River.

Do you have a favorite Val meal?

Chicken milanese.

What is your favorite thing about Amherst College?

It always comes down to the people that work and live here. I consider it a unique opportunity to be part of this campus.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes, but they will remain hidden.

What is your favorite hobby or activity? House renovations. I have renovated every house we have owned and had great pleasure doing it. There is something really rewarding about knocking down walls.

Do you have a daily routine before and after work?

When the moon is right, I am part of the 5:30 a.m. group at the Y; evenings are reserved for family.

What period of your life do you wish you could relive?

None. The past events have led me to where I am today — no regrets.

How many years have you worked at Amherst? Did you work anywhere else before you came to Amherst?

I have been at Amherst for 12 years; prior to that I was a health insurance consultant, a municipal treasurer and a bank officer.

What is your favorite memory of being at Amherst?

I have really enjoyed working with people, whether it was interpreting benefits in HR or watching the families at Commencement. Amherst Commencement Weekend is the most incredibly happy event that can be imagined. Everyone should share the joy.

Issue 18, Submitted 2010-03-09 21:54:27