Hobart alum gives what he never had—an African-American mentor
March 7, 2003 Minneapolis, M.N.—When Horace Allen studied economics at Hobart College in the 1980s, he didn’t know any African American business executives. Allen grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., where his mother worked as a janitor and his father worked in a foundry. At the time, the family didn’t have any contact with white collar professionals.
This spring, Allen, co-founder and chief executive officer of Total Solutions Group (TSG), located in Edina, Minn., intends to make sure that such is not the case for those attending his alma mater.
Next week, during spring break, five Hobart students will travel to Minneapolis to stay with Allen. They will experience Allen’s lifestyle while also attending seminars and meetings with top leaders from IBM and other businesses in the Twin Cities area. The following month, April 25-27, 50-plus Hobart students of color have been invited to do much the same, on a grander scale.
“One-on-one contact exposes one student. I said why not invite them all?” explains Allen. “I’d like the students to see the things I’ve done so they can say ‘I can do that too.’ If nothing else, maybe I can improve someone’s dreams.”
Hobart junior Lawrence Moutrie describes Allen, whom he met when the alumnus visited campus, as “motivational and straight to the point.” He adds that Allen has given practical advice on how a person of color can surmount obstacles encountered in the business realm. Moultrie, of Albany, N.Y., intends to participate in both events.
“It will be a new adventure to see Horace Allen’s company and what’s going on,” says Moutrie.
TSG is an IBM business partner with sales of approximately $10 million per year.