Miami Dade College North Campus professor Preston Allen, 46, suffered a stroke on Feb. 20. He is on medical leave for the remainder of the semester.
“Life is short and you always need to keep your loved ones close because you never know what can happen,” said Allen’s wife, Dawn Marache-Allen. “That is the lesson I have learned.”
Allen has been hospitalized for three weeks at Memorial Regional Hospital in Broward County. He is out of the Intensive Care Unit and on a regular floor, according to Marache-Allen. His long term memory is excellent but his short term memory is a bit limited.
“If there is anyone that is hopeful, it’s Preston,” Marache-Allen said. “He’s total optimism.”
Allen teaches both English and creative writing at MDC, and also instructs creative writing at Florida International University, where he earned his masters in creative writing.
“I worked with [Allen] in the English department for 15-20 years,” said Geoffrey Philp a long time friend of Allen’s and Chair of the College Prep Department at North Campus. “Preston Allen is a person on so many levels that is too valuable to lose.”
Allen is known for his published novels and short story collections. He is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners. He also took part in the Miami Book Fair International this past November. He read his most recent novel Jesus Boy.
“Preston is a very unique person,” Marache-Allen said. “He is somebody who’s been written up in The New York Times, and won many literary awards but at the end of the day he just wants to be a great teacher.”
When Allen’s son Quinn Allen, 16, first heard the news, he was worried his father’s mind would not be the same. He enjoys the intellectual conversations they share.
Many others who have gotten to know Allen share his son’s sentiment.
“He was my first professor at FIU, and I think he was the first for a reason,” said Astrid Atiles a former FIU student of Allen’s in 2001 and a reading professor at MDC.”He taught me what I didn’t know and I ended up graduating with honors.”
Allen’s colleagues are eager to see him back doing what he does best— molding young minds.
“I am looking forward to a full 100 percent recovery and seeing him back at MDC,” said North Campus Dean of Students Malou Harrison.