The Hancock County Economic Development Executive Committee would like to congratulate our very own Executive Director, Belynda Allen, on attaining her Master’s degree in Community and Economic Development on May 14, 2021. WIU Alum is known as Leathernecks.
Western Illinois University holds the distinction of being the only non-military institution to officially have its nickname derived from a branch of the military service. The school began the use of the Marine Corps’ official nickname, “The Fighting Leathernecks,” in 1927 when the then-athletic director and head baseball, basketball, and football coach Ray “Rock” Hanson was granted permission by the U.S. Navy, based on his status as a Marine hero, to use Marine’s official seal and bulldog mascot along with their nickname. For anyone that knows Belynda, we think you will probably agree. It is a name that fits. Belynda’s father, John E. Brown, Marine and Veteran of the Korean War, was a recipient of two Purple Hearts.
Belynda says, “Well, Dad, I guess this one was for you. Earning my degree was a personal goal I set for myself, but more importantly, another tool that I can use to help my communities grow and thrive. Community and economic development are my passion, and this degree only validates that passion for helping others live the best quality of life they can.
“Belynda’s persistence in earning her master’s degree while dealing with the challenges of a pandemic is certainly impressive. Congratulations, Belynda”. Says Lynn Fisher, President Marine Bank & Trust and President of Hancock County Economic Development.
“I appreciate Belynda’s passion for ongoing education and congratulate her on receiving her Master’s degree while working in the midst of the pandemic,” says Ada Bair, CEO Memorial Hospital & Hancock County Senior Services and Board Member Hancock County Economic Development and HCED Past President.