The Passions of Alumnus J. Allen Pool
Sports fan and alumnus J. Allen Poole, B.B.A. '68, serves as a board member for the Panther Athletic Club (PAC), which raises money for Georgia State University Athletics. Allen grew up playing and following football in his hometown of Sparta, Ga., 110 miles east of Atlanta. Football turned into a spectator sport for Allen when he left Hancock County and moved to Atlanta for its business opportunities.
"A few girls wrote in my annual [yearbook] that they hoped I would become a CPA, which was unusual since there were none in my county and no one had either met or seen one," says Allen, who was raised on a seven-acre cotton farm plowed with a mule named Annie.
Yet a CPA is exactly what he became, paved by the night classes at Georgia State, which was then called Georgia State College. Between working a nine-to-five job, "I only went to college a day in my life, and that was the day university president Noah Langdale gave me my diploma," he jokes.
Allen was, like 30 percent of today's student body, first in his family to go to college. As a CPA, ethical rules prohibited him from advertising, so the alumni network was critical to his success. He founded the firm Blackwell Poole and Co. in Hapeville with fellow alumnus Jack A. Blackwell, B.B.A. '58, and they also invested in real estate together.
"I can't do anything but praise Allen Poole as a business partner, friend, and a great guy," says Jack, who also says that their GSU network "absolutely" contributed to their success.
Football Benefits Georgia State
Football was always part of Allen's weekends in Atlanta, which in the mid-1960s had attracted its first professional team, the Falcons. Allen feels that the absence of a football team left Georgia State without the publicity that a team provides in the South and the nation.
"In Atlanta, people knew about Georgia State because of all of its good things, like the ability to go to school 24/7. But outside Atlanta and the state, people don't know. Football simply gives a university another way that helps everything else at the university, including academics and grant money. It's certainly a benefit," Allen says.
The Panthers football team energized Allen as a donor. Allen has designated a planned gift of $440,000 to benefit the Panther Athletic Club (PAC). "I am a joiner and a doer, and I invest in what I am involved in," Allen says. "With Georgia State and football, that's my sweet spot."
The Cherry Bekaert and Holland Accounting Scholarship
He has also designated $60,000 to the Georgia Society of CPAs Educational Foundation, which supports the Cherry Bekaert and Holland Accounting Scholarship, and honors Cherry Bekaert and Holland, the firm Allen retired from as a partner. The scholarship is awarded to a junior, senior, or graduate school accounting major.
"Georgia State allowed me to get an accounting degree, which allowed me to be a CPA, to be active in the accounting profession, and to be a leader and make a living and have some personal gain. It sounds corny, but I'm giving back a small part of what it gave to me."
Support the Programs You Love
If you would like to provide long-term support to the Georgia State programs important to you, there are many ways to give that can fit your needs. Contact Wendell Clark at 404-413-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org for help determining the best option for you.
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