BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College dedicated the James Allison Memorial Alumni Patio after a beloved mathematics professor and Bethany alumnus as part of its annual homecoming celebration.

“Jim was adored and respected by all who knew him,” Bethany President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg said in her dedication. “His gentle touch in their lives made a difference. And he continues to teach us even in this day, in our memories, and in this place. We all want to make this world a better place because we’ve been in it. And we’re standing on a patio that testifies to a person who made that kind of difference.”

For 20 years, Bethany hosted the annual Allison’s Run, a noncompetitive four-mile run/walk that followed Allison’s favored running route on Castleman Run Road along the banks of Buffalo Creek in his memory. Allison died of a cardiovascular ailment in 2000 at age 59.

Last year marked the final Allison’s Run, and COVID-19 precautions shifted the event to a virtual format.

Over the years, proceeds from Allison’s Run funded numerous scholarships, and the remaining funds were used to install the patio outside Erickson Alumni Center.

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Allison’s wife, Judy, cut the ceremonial ribbon. She and Dr. John Hull, a longtime friend of Jim Allison and a professor of psychology at Bethany, said that Allison would have loved the outdoor space but would have hated the attention.

“When we started this, I have no idea it would last this long. I mean it’s really incredible for 20 years to be able to keep this up,” Judy Allison said, noting the people involved changed often over the years. “It’s really nice that we could give so much money to different students along the way, and then use this for the rest of it.”

She noted that Kenn Morgan, Bethany’s Jennie Steindorf Renner Chair of Fine Arts and professor of fine arts, has remained a continuing contributor, designing an Allison’s Run T-shirt each year.

Adam Fletcher ’02, a professor of mathematics, offered a toast in his mentor’s memory.

Allison graduated from Bethany in 1962 with a degree in mathematics. He then received a master’s degree from West Virginia University in 1964 and returned to Bethany as a faculty member that same year. The college recognized Allison as its Professor of the Year in 1976, 1987, and 1994-1995.

He also taught part-time at Ohio University and Wheeling Jesuit University and was an elder and pillar at Bethany Memorial Church.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.