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Jim and Linda Allen receive Shining Light Award at tour stop in Franklin

Kim Chaudoin | 

Matt Paden, Jim and Linda Allen, and Dr. Candice McQueen.

Lipscomb University is going on the road this fall to continue the Be A Light Tour as an opportunity for President Candice McQueen to meet alumni, prospective students, donors and friends, and to share exciting university updates.

The first stop in this fall’s tour was in Franklin, Tennessee, on Oct. 3. More than 100 gathered at The Factory for the event.

One of the themes of McQueen’s administration is challenging those in the Lipscomb community to be a light. It is a message that she is taking on the road as part of this initiative. At each Be A Light Tour stop, Lipscomb is selecting recipients of the Shining Light Award to recognize someone whose life — and light — shines brightly in the community and in their service to others. 

Shining Light Award recipients are selected by a committee that includes McQueen and other Lipscomb leadership. The committee has a stated goal to elevate and honor the many people in our Lipscomb community living across the country who exemplify lives of service, character, and living their faith in action. 

Longtime Lipscomb supporters and alumni Jim and Linda Allen were honored at the recipients of the Shining Light Award for the Franklin gathering.

“Linda and I are both very appreciative of the kind words about our involvement in and commitment to a strong academic and Christian educational community at Lipscomb,” said Jim Allen. “We believe that the world we live in today is a ‘hot mess.’ We believe that education is really the only way to counter that trend of what is going on in our society. We realize that education can come in many forms. But we do believe that one of the most effective forms is in Christian higher education. That is why we so fervently believe that academically strong and highly Christian universities like Lipscomb are so important to our world.”

The Allens are strong supporters of Christian education and specifically of Lipscomb University. Jim and Linda met at Lipscomb and are both Lipscomb graduates. Throughout their lives they have paid forward the impact the school had on their lives through their service and support. Through this, their impact will continue for generations to come. 

Jim is a former vice president for business affairs at Lipscomb and served on the Lipscomb University Board of Trustees from 1998-2017, during which time he served on the finance and real estate, development and executive committees. He is a founder and operating partner of Meritage Private Equity, a veteran communications industry executive with 40 years of experience in the creation and management of start-up services businesses, and has held key leadership roles in building six enterprises valued in excess of $16 billion cumulatively. 

Linda served as a longtime member of the Associated Women for Lipscomb and was a true partner with Jim in his work at Lipscomb. She was known for developing close relationships with students — she was often considered the “unofficial dorm mother” for all students on campus.  For decades they have also been ardent supporters of Bison athletics. 

The Allens’ impact is visible daily through two campus icons. They funded construction of the Allen Bell Tower in memory of their late son, Michael. The couple also gave one of the largest gifts in university history to fund the construction of Allen Arena. In October 2016, Linda made a gift to expand Lipscomb’s Health Simulation Laboratory to fund three computerized mannequin patient simulators for premature babies and a second cardio-pulmonary patient simulator due in one of the largest individual donations ever gifted to the health sciences programs. When she made the gift, Linda said it “is very important to me that we have the best of the best equipment at Lipscomb for the students.” Because of the state-of-the art equipment, health sciences students are being equipped to make an impact when they leave Lipscomb. 

They also established the Lipscomb Access Fund as a way to make Christian education accessible to all students. They feel called to help make a Christian education available to as many people as possible. 

The Allens are proud Lipscomb supporters and even more proud that in addition to being alums, their daughter, Stacey Thompson, is a Lipscomb Academy graduate, and their grandchildren are part of the Lipscomb community. Their grandson, Aaron, graduated in 2021 with a degree in information security. Their granddaughter, Abby, is a senior majoring in mathematics secondary education and is a member of the cheerleading team at Lipscomb now. 

In addition to their commitment to Christian education, Jim has served as an elder at the Lafayette Church of Christ in Ballwin, Missouri, and at the Destin Church of Christ in Destin, Florida. He has served on the Board of philanthropic organizations like Family Dynamics and Hope Medical Clinic in Destin, Florida, which provides free medical care to over 5,000 medically uninsured patients. Linda and Jim both have been active in several church congregations teaching classes and involved in other various leadership functions at their local congregations. They are now active members at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ.