Spring 09: Elon awards honorary doctorate to alumnus Noel Allen

Noel Lee Allen, a 1969 Elon alumnus whose distinguished legal career has won international accolades, received an honorary doctor of humane letters during Elon University’s Convocation for Honors on March 31. The degree was conferred by President Leo M. Lambert and presented by John G. Sullivan, professor emeritus of philosophy.

Allen has been a member of Elon’s board of trustees since 1985 and served as the board’s chair from 2001 to 2003. He chaired the three strategic planning committees that for two decades guided Elon’s unprecedented growth, and he chaired the 1998 presidential search committee that brought President Lambert to the university.

He also played a pivotal role in establishing the Elon University School of Law and is a member of the law school’s advisory board. His innovative ideas on legal training helped inspire the law school’s mission to engage students and prepare lawyers who are leaders in their profession and their communities.

At Homecoming in November 2008, Allen received Elon’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award.

Allen grew up in the Town of Elon and enrolled in the college, serving as president of the Student Government Association. He helped establish the student newspaper, a public policy speakers forum and the campus radio station.

After completing his studies at Elon, Allen enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He was a fast-rising star, publishing an international law article and serving as a moot court justice and legal writing teaching assistant. Five years later, he earned a diploma in international law from the University of Amsterdam.

Allen’s distinguished professional legal career began with service as assistant attorney general for the state of North Carolina. In 1977 he founded the Raleigh law firm Allen & Pinnix, which is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Law Firms. A respected author, editor and practicing attorney, Allen has received recognition as one of Business North Carolina magazine’s “Legal Elite” and a “North Carolina Super Lawyer.”

He is recognized for his expertise in administrative law in “The Best Lawyers in America” and is the recipient of the North Carolina Bar Association International Law Service Award. His peers have placed him on the North Carolina Tax Review Board and the North Carolina Board of Ethics. Allen serves as legal counsel for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and several North Carolina professional licensing boards, including the Board of CPA Examiners and the Board of Architecture, and has served as chair of the Antitrust Section and the International Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. He is the author of “North Carolina Unfair Business Practice” and “Antitrust Law in North Carolina.”

Allen is known internationally as director of the Center for the Public Trusts and a Fellow of the Center for International Legal Studies in Austria. He serves as U.S. editor of the multi-volume treatise Competition Law of Western Europe and The United States (Kluwer Law International).

A respected legal educator, Allen has taught as an adjunct professor at Campbell University School of Law and published articles on ethics, the use of expert witnesses and legal challenges for regulating Internet practice.

Members of Elon’s Order of the Oak and the School of Law’s Founders’ Society, Allen and his wife, Sandra Robinson Allen ’72, have generously supported their alma mater. The couple are the parents of Brenner and Jeremy, a 2007 Elon alumnus.