Following Provost Dykstra’s death, the Regents appointed a three-man committee to administer UCLA until a successor to Dykstra could be found. The committee consisted of Vern O. Knudsen (Dean of the Graduate Division), Stafford L. Warren (Dean of the Medical School), and Paul Dodd (Dean of the College of Letters and Science). In March 1951, the Regents approved a reorganization plan for the University of California that gave UCLA greater autonomy. One of the provisions of the plan was that UCLA’s chief administrative officer would be upgraded from Provost (an academic title) to Chancellor (an academic and administrative title). After an 18-month search and consideration of more than 50 candidates, the Regents announced the appointment of Raymond B. Allen as Chancellor of UCLA on December 14, 1951.
Allen was born August 7, 1902 in Cathay, North Dakota. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 1924 and his medical degree from Minnesota in 1928. For the next two years, Allen was a country doctor in North Dakota. In 1933, he won a Mayo Fellowship and received his Ph.D. from the Mayo Foundation Division of the University of Minnesota’s Graduate Division the following year.
Allen then went into medical administration, serving at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia, Wayne University College of Medicine, the University of Illinois Chicago Colleges of Medicine, and the Illinois College of Medicine. From 1946 to 1952 Allen was President of the University of Washington, where he organized the schools of medicine and dentistry. At the time of his appointment at UCLA, Allen was also serving as the head of the Psychological Strategy Board in Washington, an important cold-war agency.
Allen’s experience in organizing and administering medical programs was an important factor in his selection as Chancellor. It was felt that his experience would help UCLA develop its Medical Center and School of Medicine. His experience proved to be valuable. During Allen’s administration the Medical Center was built and the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing were developed. Also developed during the Allen administration was the Neuropsychiatric Institute, a project funded jointly by the University and the California State Department of Mental Hygiene.
Ned Cronin, a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times called Allen “the best thing that’s happened to UCLA since the advent of the single wing.” However, it was football (a three-year-long investigation concerning under-the-table payments to football players, involving all the schools of the Pacific Coast Conference) that led to Chancellor Allen’s resignation in June of 1959. Allen became the Director of the International Cooperation Administration in Indonesia. Later, Allen joined the World Health Organization in Washington D.C.