Philanthropist, Longtime Board Member P.E. MacAllister Dies

Author: Carroll University

Published Date: 10/24/2019

Categories: Alumni University News

A True Carroll Pioneer

P.E. MacAllister

MacAllister Hall
MacAllister Hall, on the corner of College and East Avenues, stands as a testament to the many gifts P.E. MacAllister shared with Carroll University during his more than 80 year relationship with the school.

We are saddened to report that Pershing Edwin (P.E.) MacAllister, whose insight, generosity and hard work created a remarkable legacy at Carroll University, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana, at age 101.

A 1940 graduate, P.E. has been one of Carroll’s most stalwart and visible supporters. Not only has he served 56 consecutive years on the Board of Trustees, he is the single largest donor in Carroll’s 174-year history. He also has been an ardent fundraiser for Carroll, helping to raise millions of dollars.

Throughout his time here, he has known 11 of Carroll’s 15 presidents and has made immeasurable contributions to our campus. P.E. has had an immense impact, from MacAllister Hall to establishing the MacAllister Fellowship, the most prestigious scholarship awarded at Carroll. He provided funds that resulted in new construction, academic chairs and building renovations. And, while his generosity has touched many aspects of Carroll, his singular desire was to help our students.

It is difficult to put into words what P.E. has meant to Carroll. In 2010, the campus community joined together for the “Thank P.E. Campaign,” in which faculty, staff, alumni and students made tribute gifts to the MacAllister Fellowship and celebrated his tireless work as a Carroll board member.  

He is a shining example of Carroll’s mission of preparing students for lifelong learning and service, and we are eternally grateful for his own dedication to service.

P.E. has said his success in business is directly linked to his Carroll education: “A fundamental principle of a liberal arts education is that you learn how to learn; you gain the basis upon which you can build the rest of your life.”

And successful he was. 

Raised in Wisconsin, after graduating from Carroll, P.E. joined the U.S. Army Air Corps—spending months overseas during World War II. After leaving the corps in 1945, he began work with his father at MacAllister Machinery in Indiana. He took over the company at age 32 after his father suffered a stroke, and MacAllister Machinery ultimately became the state leader in agriculture and heavy machinery equipment.

He also was successful in many other arenas. After being nominated by Carroll, in 2014 he received the national Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Involvement from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which recognizes an individual for service to one’s alma mater. The Stewart Award is the highest honor CASE presents to an alumni volunteer. 

Also in 2014, he received the Sachem Award from then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, which celebrates Hoosiers who exhibit wisdom, judgment and grace. In 2009, P.E. was named a “Living Legend” by the Indiana Historical Society, an honor shared with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., John Mellencamp and David Letterman. And, in 2005, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the JFK Center for the Arts. 

P.E. truly led a remarkable life, and we have been privileged to be a part of it. His legacy will live on at Carroll, not just in bricks and mortar, but in the passion and commitment to lifelong learning we all share. 

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Becky, and his second wife, Fran. He is survived by his son, Chris, daughters Sandy MacAllister and Laurie MacAllister Davis, and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Learn more about P.E.'s Life and Career

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