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Nationally-respected Texas Tech soil scientist B. L. Allen dies at 88

Nationally-respected Texas Tech soil scientist B. L. Allen dies at 88

B. L. Allen, a 50-year veteran educator and nationally-recognized soil scientist in Texas Tech University’s Department of Plant and Soil Science has died. He was 88 when he passed away Saturday (March 24).

“Dr. Allen was a foremost soil scientist, a deeply religious individual, and – most importantly – a good man,” said Richard Zartman, chairman of Tech’s Plant and Soil Science Department. “He was the consummate field soil scientist, and he instilled his curiosity and passion in all of us who had the good fortune to work with him.”

Born on August 11, 1923, Allen was raised in Hillsboro. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy (soils option) from Texas Tech. His master’s degree and doctorate in soil science (geology minor) are from Michigan State University. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946 in the South Pacific and Philippines.

Prior to joining the Texas Tech faculty, Allen served as an instructor, assistant professor and associate professor of agriculture at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM. During that time, he also worked with the Soil Conservation Service in Michigan.

Allen taught soil science courses at Texas Tech for almost 50 years, starting in 1959. He trained many graduate students throughout his career. Those students now hold professional positions in universities, private industries and public agencies across the country.

From 1991 until his retirement in 2003, Allen served as the university’s Rockwell Professor of Soil Science. In addition, he coached Tech’s soils team for 40 years. During that span, his teams placed first, second or third in the region 35 times. Nationally, his teams place first five times and second, third or fourth an additional seven times.

Allen received numerous awards, including the Amoco Teaching Award, President’s Teaching Award, President’s Academic Achievement Award, and Excellence in Teaching Award from Texas Tech. In 2005, Allen was selected as the Texas Tech Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Michael Galyean, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or


Editor’s Note: A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday (March 31) at Saint Paul’s-on-the-Plains Episcopal Church in Lubbock. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the B.L. Allen Soil Science Endowment at Texas Tech.


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