Sam Allen Alumnus Samuel Allen, chairman and chief executive officer of Deere & Co., recently made a $5 million gift to name the Krannert School of Management deanship and provide resources for strategic initiatives within the school. (Photo by Mark Simons)

Strategic Giving

Alumnus Sam Allen endows Krannert deanship

A Fortune 500 CEO and Purdue University alumnus has created an endowed deanship at Krannert that will provide resources for strategic initiatives within the school.

Samuel Allen, chairman and chief executive officer of Deere & Co., made a $5 million gift to name the deanship. The position is known as the Dr. Samuel R. Allen Dean of the Krannert School of Management.

Allen graduated from Purdue in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate in management in 2017. He first became involved with Deere as a student in an undergraduate offering called Executives in the Classroom, now known as the Krannert Executive Forum, and joined the company upon his graduation. He worked his way up the organization before assuming the role of president and CEO in 2009, and chairman and CEO the following year.

“The Krannert School was very important in giving me a foundation for my career, as well as introducing me to a wonderful organization,” Allen says. “I’m happy to give back to a school and university that have meant so much to me through the years.”

David Hummels, dean of the Krannert School, says the gift will provide unrestricted funds to enable the school to invest in key strategic initiatives.

“We’re honored that Sam has made an investment that will help push Krannert to a higher level and allow us to compete for the very best students and faculty,” Hummels says. “The business world is evolving at a rapid pace. This gift will allow us the flexibility to be more responsive to changing needs in the way we recruit and educate top students.”

As an undergraduate at Purdue, Allen received a partial athletic scholarship to play golf. He credits the experience for teaching him important life skills and helping him build relationships. He previously gave a $2 million gift to help renovate the University’s Ackerman-Allen Course.

“I enjoy the personal aspect of golf,” he says. “It is about your ability to compete with yourself and the discipline you have to develop from that. I really enjoy the camaraderie you build with your fellow golfers.”

In 2011, Allen led the introduction of the John Deere Inspire Program, a global initiative designed to stimulate a future generation of innovators through STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education combining connections and hands-on experiences with the real world.

“We consider STEM literacy increasingly important for students at all levels to support 21st century learning and jobs, regardless of their career choice,” Allen says. “If you don’t have a good background of STEM skills coming out of high school, it’s pretty hard to change that at the college level.”

Allen is chairman emeritus of the Council on Competitiveness and a board member for Whirlpool Corp He is one of three current Fortune 500 CEOs to graduate from the Krannert School. The others are Greg Hayes (BSM’82), chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corp.; and Dave Ricks (BSIM’90), CEO of Eli Lilly and Co.

By Tim Newton