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I met Tom Allen for the first time six years ago when he became the Chairman of our illustration department here at Ringling School of Art and Design. Through Tom’s work and friendship, it seems like I’ve known him forever.

His homespun manner envelopes this man of great curiosity and wisdom that touches all he encounters. This Legendary Trail Blazer of Illustration has always taken the time to give back so much to his profession through the classroom.

The impact of Tom’s legendary teaching history spans over 40 years from the School of Visual Arts’ first illustration courses to the formation of Syracuse’s Master’s programs in Illustration and Graphic Design. The educator, Tom Allen, has had an academic impact of enormous proportions. The list of his past students reads like a Who’s Who of illustration.

His teaching technique is to approach each student as an individual and to bring out his or her personal strengths. This pedagogy and his openness are the keys to his great success. He always welcomes the new, yet embraces the formalities of tradition. These are the characteristics of great leaders, thinkers and educators, all of which are Tom Allen.

Regan Dunnick 

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