Dr Allen Warren

(Provost 1984-2008)

When Allen Warren retired as Provost of Vanbrugh he had been at the helm of the College for over half of its years. In his 24 years in charge he shaped the College into his vision of the ideal academic student community, welcoming students into his home and inspring them to grow outside of their academic achievements.  His endeavours have given Vanbrugh the personality that it retains to this day.

Allen has been involved in student and youth communities through his life. At the age of sixteen he became a voluntary youth worker through the Scout movement. Whilst studying for a doctorate in History at New College, Oxford, he was given a research fellowship that required him to improve the relationship between students and the academic staff. At twenty-six he accepted a lectureship at the Department of History at York, despite having completed just one draft chapter of his PhD, and moved into a staff flat in Vanbrugh College.

Throughout his years at Oxford and York teaching and student welfare were Allen’s main interest. Allen applied for all three  Provostships at Alcuin, Vanbrugh and Wentworth when they became available in 1984. His previous experience and passion for developing the student community made him an ideal candidate. Luckily Vanbrugh offered him the position first.

At the heart of Allen’s ethos as Provost was that the Provost must be visible. He expanded the now infamous supper parties at his house so that every new student was invited when they first arrived at York. However, he was particularly interested in student activities away from academic work. He organised the fondly remembered 'Vanbrugh Weekends', where a group of students and staff would stay in the North York Moors and explore the countryside.  He also invited prominent speakers for Vanbrugh Lectures and started two wider community engagement programs at the University: York Students in Schools (YSIS) and the York Award.

However, his most significant contribution to the Vanbrugh community was music. Allen made music a central activity within Vanbrugh and employed the College’s first Vanbrugh Music Tutor, Edd Caine. This legacy continues to this day and is reflected in the College’s logo.

'The Warren' reception area and services building, fought for by Dr Warren as he oversaw the building of Vanbrugh's new residence blocks at Donald Barron and Barbara Scott Courts in 2007, has been unofficially named after him by students and staff at the University, and a painting, commissioned by the Senior Common Room, of which he is a long-standing member, now hangs there.

Allen has given Vanbrugh his personality.

Allen Warren stepped down as Provost and Colleges' Coordinator in 2008, following the celebrations of the College's 40th Anniversary.  Allen is a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of York.  He remains fully engaged with the College as a member of the College Council and Alumni Relations Co-ordinator for the College.


The advantage of longevity is that the College can absorb the
personality of the Provost.

Allen Warren, 2012

Did you know?

Allen Warren's popularity as Provost inspired a Facebook Group entitled, the Allen Warren Appreciation Society.