Lansing Community College

LCC celebrates its longest-tenured employee

Rich Allen marks 50 years at the college

By Karen Tommasulo

rich allen with the president and a board of trustee at a service awards celebration

Fifty-five percent of LCC's current employees weren't yet born when Rich Allen arrived on campus in February 1973 for his first day of work. He had been hired as a student programmer in the Information Technology Department, responsible for writing specialized programs to assist Human Resources and Payroll.

Within two months, Allen had proven himself, and he was hired as a full-time programmer. It was a quick start for the man who would become the first employee in college history to reach 50 years of service. LCC honored his milestone at the August 2023 annual service awards, and in celebrating his decades of work, had a chance to look at how the college's information technology has evolved over the years.

"My first assignments dealt with our HR/Payroll systems," Allen said. "I would receive my work assignments from one of our analysts, in the form of System Requirements, or what my program needed to do. I would take these requirements and analyze how my program was to accomplish the tasks it was designed to perform. Until the college upgraded their computer hardware to a newer, larger and faster mainframe, I needed to keep my program small enough to fit within the 64K of computer memory. That was all we had to work with."

Allen cut his IT teeth at LCC, but the college was not his first foray into higher education. He graduated from Chelsea High School and then headed to Cleary College in Ypsilanti, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. But with his bachelor's degree came an end to his student deferment, and he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served four years, including 2.5 years in Vietnam.

After his honorable discharge in 1971, Allen decided to pick his education back up. He came to LCC in pursuit of an associate degree in business, and took the student programmer job as a way to gain experience while he learned.

"When I first started at LCC as a programmer, data entry into our batch systems, including programs that I developed, was done via key punch cards," Allen said. "I would write my program down on a coding form, which I would then either send over to our Key Punch area to be coded onto key punch cards, or I would key punch my program onto key punch cards myself, using the one key punch machine

we had in the IT Department Office. Often, I would have to wait use this key punch machine because other programmers were also data entering their programs too."

Over the decades, Allen has helped bring the college through a series of technology upgrades and systems migrations. He has had to continuously learn the latest, while serving as invaluable institutional memory for the college.

"Rich has had a great career over 50 years, increasing his knowledge and ability, taking on increased roles as a programmer and an analyst," Chief Information Officer Bill Garlick said. "It is easy to say that Rich has been an integral part of this college. We celebrate the ways he has impacted those around him."

Allen has served under all seven LCC presidents, from founder Phil Gannon through Steve Robinson, and has held six different job titles. When he started, there was no internet; there weren't even PCs. But he says he remained as the technology shifted around him because he enjoys the challenge of each new program, each project that helps his end user do their job faster and more efficiently.

"I've stayed at the college for these 50 years because I enjoy what I do," Allen said. "I also enjoy working for LCC. The college has always treated me fairly and I've always felt valued. I also enjoy working with my fellow IT staff members and the end user areas I support. They will be the ones I truly miss when I finally retire."

Outside of work, Allen enjoys spending time with his son and two granddaughters, hunting and fishing, camping, flower gardening, and "backpacking in my younger days."

Congratulations, Rich, and from all of us at LCC, thank you!


About Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College, founded in 1957, is one of the largest community colleges in Michigan, serving more than 14,500 students across a six-county area each year. LCC offers courses in general education for those interested in transferring to a four-year institution, career and workforce development, developmental education and personal enrichment. To meet the professional development and training needs of regional employees, the college offers customized programs for credit, non-credit and continuing education. The Transfer Center at LCC offers students the opportunity to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from five partner universities on the downtown LCC campus. For more information, visit

Lansing Community College provides equal opportunity for all persons and prohibits discriminatory practices based on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, creed, ancestry, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, familial status, marital status, military status, veteran’s status, or other status as protected by law, or genetic information that is unrelated to the person’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position or participate in educational programs, courses, services or activities offered by the College.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Equal Opportunity Officer, Washington Court Place, 309 N. Washington Square Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1730; Employee Coordinator 504/ADA, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1875; Student Coordinator 504/ADA, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1885; Human Resource Manager/Employee Title IX Coordinator, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1879; Student Title IX Coordinator, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-9632.


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