Many things change in the 20 years after high school graduation, but members of the Monticello High School class of 1992 are likely not surprised at the success their former Class President has found in his professional life.
Stephen Allen has made a name for himself as the Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Retention at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
The son of Colleen and the late Harold Allen, Stephen is grateful to have grown up in Monticello and had the opportunities to be involved in many things that attending a small school provides.
Stephen learned the value of hard work at home and at MHS. He vividly recalls staying after school to do math homework and get help from teacher Gordon Reeve.
He also has significant memories of specific writing assignments given by English instructors Doug Wright and Liz Miller. Allen praised his teachers at MHS, stating they gave meaningful feedback in his class work.
In spite of the success in his professional life, he remembers a time when it wasn’t always so.
“I vividly remember not making the 9th grade basketball team — pretty tough to do in Monticello. Although I was crushed and embarrassed at the time, it was an early lesson in developing resiliency,” says Allen.
Allen also remembers a brief attempt at football, “but I found it to be horrifying in every way.”
However, Allen did not let the early athletic disappointments keep him from excelling and found ways to develop his talents.
Stephen was involved in yearbook, LDS Seminary Council, Sterling Scholar, student government, and the Hispanic Club. He also played tennis and ran cross country, as well as working part time jobs at Abajo Convenience store and at Kent’s Foods.
Members of the Class of ’92 likely don’t remember a year when Allen did not serve as their class president. Class member recognized early his leadership skills and abilities and chose him repeatedly to lead them.
“I thought then, as I do now, that I was part of an exceptional class,” says Allen. Class member Karla Barton-Eberling reminisces on Allen’s impact on the class, “We were selfish and wouldn’t let him be student body president because we didn’t want to share him with the whole school.”
Upon graduation, Stephen was admitted to Southern Utah University, Brigham Young University, and Snow College and received scholarships from all three institutions. He chose to attend SUU and loved it. After one semester, he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Scotland.
Upon his return, he re-enrolled at SUU and got involved in student government. By his senior year, he was elected to be the Student Body President at SUU.
That year he married Lisa Brown and graduated in 1998 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Political Science. After graduation, he and his wife moved to Nebraska, where he earned a Masters degree in Education and Student Affairs.
Upon graduating, Allen took a job in admissions at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and started a Ph.D. program.
In 2003, Stephen accepted a job at Southern Utah University and obtained his Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership in 2004 from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.
As the Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Retention, Allen handles admissions, recruitment, financial aid and scholarships, registration and records, international student engagement, and retention.
He has had the chance to play a role in helping SUU grow in enrollment and improve the academic quality of the students who enroll at the institution.
Allen has also had a continuing affect on San Juan County through his ability to help students from the local area enroll at SUU.
“I’ve found that students from southeastern Utah have a strong work ethic, are modest, well rounded and come with a lot of significant experiences, despite San Juan County’s remote and rural location,” says Allen.
He considers it a privilege to be able to help many San Juan County students through the application process, apply for scholarships, find jobs on campus, locate housing, and connect with advisers and faculty.
“I never tire to watch the students from San Juan County thrive. Students who come from the small communities of San Juan have an impressive reputation among faculty and staff at SUU. I often say that I will take all of the students from southeast Utah that I can get because each student is such a great addition to campus,” says Allen.
In addition to his work at the University, Stephen has been involved in the Rotary Club and was awarded the “Rotarian of the Year” award. He also serves as the President of the Iron County School Board, where he will be running for a second term this fall.
He also enjoys gardening, running, cars, and spending time with his family. He and his wife Lisa have four children: Abigail Jane (13), Claire Colleen (11), Katherine Penny (8), and Campbel (5).
“I credit much of the good things in my life to growing up in San Juan County. From the sacrifice of many who came before us to settle San Juan County—yet did not fully reap the fruits of their labors to the same degree that we enjoy today—to my upbringing and the many people who influenced my life growing up in Monticello.
“I often reflect on the impact of my parents, teachers, Scout and church leaders. Many invest time, resources, and effort into thousands of young people over the years. I feel very blessed,” says Allen.
“I trust that the spirit of sacrifice that began with the early settlers (of all backgrounds) continues today in supporting our schools and youth.”