Alumni Spotlight: Chip Allen '79, P '21

Chip returns to The Hilltop nearly forty years after graduating in a new role: parent. He shares the lessons he's learned, campus observations from a new perspective, and his favorite KUA memory.

Describe your time as a KUA student:
Coming to KUA really taught me how to learn and enjoy learning for the first time. I really got turned on to English and reading while here and interpreting the deeper meaning of the story. I competed here in football, skiing, and lacrosse. At the time, lacrosse was a young sport and I started playing at summer camp. I was taught by someone who used to play at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and he brought the game to the camp. It really took off when I got KUA. We spent a lot of time standing right outside of DR tossing the lacrosse ball back and forth. Playing three sports was great for me and the community was wonderful. We had a ton of fun skiing at Whaleback and ski jumping with Fei (Georg Feichtinger H '02). One day there was a dare to all the alpine guys to go up to the old ski hill and try out the jump and we became addicted to it. It was a blast. The only thing they couldn’t turn us onto was cross-country skiing.
 
Tell us about your skiing and lacrosse careers:
I was inducted this year into the Hall of Fame for both skiing and lacrosse at Norwich University, where I graduated in 1983.
 
I made the All-East Ski team in 1983 and qualified for the Division 1 Ski Championships, where I skied against many of the top racers in the US. I was captain of the ski team at Norwich. I had the chance to compete in the Military World Championships against the best in the world. Alberto Tombo was there, some of the top racers in the world. It was a lot of fun.
 
What experiences did you take from your time as a Cadet at Norwich?
I was a traditional guardsman soldier and I still am today. I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 as an embedded trainer for the Afgan National Army. I was a team leader for a group. We lived together, ate and fought alongside each other. It gave me a unique insight to that area of the world.
 
How did your daughter, Casey, end up on The Hilltop?
We had driven down to UNH to drop off my son. On the way back, I decided to visit KUA because I hadn’t seen campus in a long time. When Casey saw the campus, she expressed interest in seeing the school again when it was in session. This is the only place we looked at, she fell in love with KUA. One of the aspects that was key that I can remember to this day; we parked at Baxter and we were walking down across the quad and 3 kids said hi to us. We were both surprised at how welcoming it was. She took the tour, loved it, wanted to come here, and the rest is history. We were able to afford it thanks to financial aid – I came back the 2nd week of school and went to her game and she told me, “this is the best decision I ever made.”
 
Much like when I arrived at KUA, she enjoys going to class and enjoys learning.
 
From what you have heard from Casey, how is KUA different now than when you were a student?
The difference is the infrastructure – the buildings, the fields, the layout. I looked for both of my rooms and neither one of them are there! They have both been converted to faculty housing. The bathrooms are the same though. In general, the dorms are similar but the classrooms have so much more. I think it’s great that the cell signal is not great here because the kids unplug a little. That’s a unique piece to this place that is working in its favor today.
 
Another great thing is that I’ve reconnected with my KUA friends because Casey is here now too. It’s really great. I look at Casey and can see all the friendships she is forming now that will last her for the rest of her life. And they are all good kids.
 
Looking back on my time at KUA, believe it or not, I really cherish those formal dinners. Nowadays, as a society, we are so rushed – there’s no time now to sit down and have a meal, together as families.
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Kimball Union Academy

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Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA blends the best of the New England boarding tradition with an innovative, modern educational program for a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York.