In 1974, his Philadelphia-area native arrived on a bus with a backpack and a pony tail. More than 40 years later, the pony tail is gone, he still roots for the Eagles (it’s a Philly-thing), but he’s also added orange and purple to his wardrobe. Today, he directs the graduate Architecture + Health program, which focuses on architectural environment’s impact on the health and well-being of individuals and populations. The program is one of the few of its kind in the country and now celebrating its 50th anniversary – it’s one of the oldest.

Meet David Allison.

Title: Alumni distinguished professor of architecture, director of the graduate program of Architecture + Health

Years at Clemson: 29

What I do at Clemson: I teach and direct the Architecture + Health graduate program.

What I love about Clemson: The students, they’re great to work with. We’re very privileged to have very selective, top students. Hardworking and dedicated, they go off and make a difference in the community.

What was a defining moment for you at Clemson: There have been many moments. My arrival in Clemson is one that stood out. I am the first in my family to go to college and this program was recommended by my guidance counselor. I arrived as a student in 1974. I took the train from Philadelphia and arrived at 10:30 p.m. I thought the train station would be in the center of town and that I would be able to get a cab. I wasn’t in Philly anymore. Fortunately, I met a guy who was on the Clemson swim team, who was being picked up by the swim coach. If it wasn’t for them, I would have been sleeping on my trunk in the train station that night.

The moments that have been the most rewarding have been the work we’ve done with our design prototyping – our patient room prototype work and our operating room prototype. Those are two things that have gone on and received a lot of national recognition.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I’m proud of the students who go through our program, who graduate and the successes that they achieve within the profession.

Where I see myself in five years: I plan to stick around for a little longer. We need to think about the next generation of this program and how that is going to change and evolve. I want to help usher the department through this transition and growth.

Last thing I watched on TV: Mozart in the Jungle

Guilty pleasure: Traveling, I love to travel. I’ve been to about 20 countries. I just came back from London.

One thing most people don’t know about me: I had a ponytail in my youth.

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