PULLMAN, Wash. — A couple who met at Washington State University and never forgot
their alma mater have received the WSU Alumni Achievement Award.
Louis A. Allen and his wife, Ruth Graham Allen, of Atherton, Calif., were recognized Oct. 17
at a dinner in Palo Alto that included the recipient of one of the scholarships they sponsor at
WSU. Earlier this year, they became WSU Benefactors, with their cumulative gifts to the
university totaling more than $1 million.
Louis came to WSU from Republic, Wash., and completed a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy
in 1941. Ruth was raised on a dairy farm outside of Pullman, and earned a degree in biology at
WSU in 1945. They were married in 1946. She completed her medical degree at Northwestern
University in 1948, and practiced clinical medicine for 10 years. She also worked closely with
child-rearing specialist and pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock.
Allen is chair emeritus and founder of Louis A. Allen Associates, Inc., an international
management consulting firm he established in 1958 with headquarters in California and offices in
Australia, Africa and the Philippines. He sold the firm in 1992.
Allen practiced, taught, did research, and consulted in the field of management for more than
half a century. He conducted a three-year study of organizations and management in 150
companies, and later broadened the study to include 80 additional firms. The study focused on
organizational evolution and change in American enterprises. He was the first to identify the two
basic types of organizational structure — functional and divisional — and the factors that drive
the transition from one type to the next. He also was the first to fully classify human work,
dividing it into such categories as class, orders, functions, activities, segments and elements.
This typology allowed him to accurately diagnose organizational problems and solutions.
Allen published numerous academic monographs and textbooks on varying aspects of
management. His book, “The Management Profession,” won the McKinsey Award from the
Academy of Management in 1964.
The Allens have an in-depth interest and expertise in primitive art and mythology. A
collector and authority on primitive art, Louis is the author of “Time Before Morning: Art and
Myth of the Australian Aborigines,” 1976.
Ruth was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Louis was a member of the varsity
boxing team, Crimson Circle and “Big Five” seniors. He served with the U.S. Army during World
War II and received the Legion of Merit Award. In 1982, the Allens returned to WSU, where he
was Executive-in-Residence in the College of Business and Economics. He also was a Trustee of
the WSU Foundation from 1983-89.