Frank Allen: An Appreciation

Francis Allen was the Dean who hired me. First deans are, in their own way, as memorable as first kisses; they set expectations for all that follows. The expectations that Frank Allen set were high indeed. In this young professor’s mind (I was 24 when I received my offer; 25 when I joined the faculty) he embodied what I still regard as the two most important academic virtues: scholarship and decency. These virtues combined to make him, at the time he accepted the Michigan deanship, perhaps the nation’s most powerful voice for criminal justice reform and the country’s leading scholar of criminal procedure, or so I was told in my first year by a visiting specialist in this area. Later, when he left the deanship, generations of students would directly benefit from Frank’s virtues, as he not only stepped gracefully into a teaching role but also became, almost immediately, one of those professors whom students universally acclaim as “special.”