For Van Allen, Retirement Didn't Last Long

Jackie Van Allen on a sunflower run.
Jackie Van Allen

April 12, 2024
Gonzaga University Communications | Spirit Newsletter

Jackie Van Allen retired from Gonzaga on May 31, 2023.

But it didn’t last long.

She returned to campus two months later serving as interim budget coordinator for the School of Engineering and Applied Science after Dean Karlene Hoo asked her to return.

Then, on Dec. 6, she was named director of Sponsored Research and Programs, the office from which she had retired six months earlier.

Confusing? Not really.

Van Allen began her Gonzaga career in 2010 following grant work for the University of Washington and budget management at The Spokesman-Review.

Next, she served here as grant accountant in the Controller’s Office.

“This was post-grant work,” Van Allen says, “reviewing grant expenditures, invoicing funders, and preparing financial reports.”

Then, after 10 years, Van Allen transferred to Sponsored Research as a grant and contract officer helping faculty and staff find funding opportunities and assisting with grant application preparations.

Now she’s back as the boss and looking to expand what had become a depleted staff. She is searching for a grant and contract officer.

“It is gratifying to identify grants and assist with grant applications. And it is even better when a grant is awarded, providing funding for research and programmatic activities that benefit faculty, staff, students and our community.”

For Van Allen, her work at Gonzaga for the past 14 years is not all about the work being accomplished. It is also about the community of people she has befriended, some of them folks she either worked with previously, or would later work with, on grant proposals.

And if you don’t recognize Van Allen by name, you most likely have seen her tall, sleek frame, hair streaming behind her or bundled under her cap, as she makes her noontime runs across campus and beyond, often with one or more running friends at her side.

Although she has run 71 marathons (26.2 miles) and 72 half-marathons, logging more than 61,000 miles over 37 years, she seldom trains without a running or conversation buddy.

“I mostly run with others, conversing along the way,” she says. “That’s the part of running I enjoy the most. It’s not so hard when you have other people to chat with along the way. And it has been a great way for me to get to know others on campus.”

She never runs with music in her ears, saying “I want to be aware of everything around me.”

Van Allen reached out to Gonzaga’s then- Corporate Cup team coordinator Gail Nord soon after she arrived to see if Nord needed another runner on one of GU’s Bloomsday teams. Van Allen quickly made friends and positive contributions to the team, and in 2013, Nord handed over the coordinator duties to Van Allen, a position she held until 2023.

Gonzaga usually sponsors six Bloomsday teams, which consistently win awards, from finishing second overall out of 300 teams in 2023 to the best team name, “Pair O’ Thighs Lost,” in 2014.

This was always easy work for Van Allen because, quite simply, “I love to run.”

Grant awards since September totaling almost $2 million:

IRS Low Income Taxpayer Clinic:

Law School, Principal Investigator (PI) Christopher Crago, $100,000

Award: Jan. 2024

Funding to assist low-income individuals who have tax dispute with the IRS.

Environmental Protection Agency:

Smoke Ready Spokane, Institute for Climate, Water and the Environment; PI Brian Henning, $1.1 million

Award: Jan. 2024

Funding for planning and preparing for wildfire smoke in Spokane.

National Endowment for the Arts:

Finding Our Way: Digital Deep Mapping, College of Arts & Science; PI Katey Roden; $99,996

Award: Dec. 2023

Funding for a mapping project designed to build community engagement, civic capacity and create a sense of place for underserved communities.

Education First/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

Limitless Learning Network, Mission Integration; PI Wendy Thompson, $25,000

Award: Oct. 2023

Funding to support participation and engagement in Limitless, a Postsecondary Enrollment Learning Network.

National Endowment for the Humanities:

The Critical Edition of Alfred North Whitehead, College of Arts & Sciences; PI Brian Henning, $297,170

Award: Sept. 2023

Funding for critical editing of newly discovered materials of mathmatician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead.

Allstate Foundation: A Return to Service:

Gonzaga University (Allstate Youth-Led Service grant), Center for Community Engagement; PI Molly Ayers, $25,000

Award: Sept. 2023

Funding to advance the ability of GU students to engage in youth-led, youth- driven community service.

USDA Forest Service: Water security:

Evaluation of drinking water system challenges and cost implications to assess preparedness for wildfire in the Western U.S., Engineering; PI Kyle Shimabuku, $335,471 awarded to GU.

Award: Sept. 2023

Funding to provide better understanding among key drivers of the initial and longer-term effects of wildfire on source water supplies and drinking water systems.

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