UF’s first black alumnus and civil rights activist W. George Allen has died, his family confirmed Thursday.
Allen graduated from the UF College of Law in 1962. At the time, the college was not yet integrated and Allen became the first African American to graduate from UF.
“I was admitted to Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley, but I’m a native Floridian, and I felt that somebody had to integrate the University of Florida,” he said in a 2013 interview with Florida Trend. “The racists told me I didn’t belong there and I’d never graduate.”
In 2015, Allen returned to his alma mater to speak to the Black Law Students Association and the Josiah T. Walls Bar Association. He offered career advice based on his 50-year-long career practicing law.
His son, Jonathan Allen, deemed him a “Florida icon, fishing icon, family icon and a very distinguished gentleman” in a Facebook post on the UF Association of Black Alumni page Thursday night.