Lorrie Fair Allen

Program Director

Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project

Global Public Servant. World-Class Athlete. Lifelong Tar Heel.

Though Lorrie Fair Allen is now earning her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree online through MPA@UNC, she has been a part of the Carolina family for more than 20 years.

“I get to be a double Tar Heel!” said Allen, who also earned her bachelor’s degree at UNC. “I think anyone who comes here knows there is something pretty special about this place.”

During that time, Allen’s deep commitment to advancing the public good—both in the United States and around the world—has made her a formidable leader in academic, athletic, and professional arenas.

A Leader in the Making

During her time as an undergraduate at UNC, Allen quickly distinguished herself as a gifted athlete. In addition to helping the UNC women’s soccer team win three NCAA championships, she was a member of the 1999 FIFA World Cup championship team and took home a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

At the same time, Allen nurtured her academic interests, particularly those related to public service and advocacy. The UNC women’s soccer program, she says, laid the groundwork for her development as a leader. She credits coaches Anson Dorrance and Bill Palladino with designing a program that positions students for continued success.

“One of their goals is to build leaders who are service-oriented,” Allen said in 2019. “Anson’s biggest hope is that that extends beyond the soccer field.”

Forging Global Community and Connection

Since earning her bachelor’s degree, Allen has parlayed her athletic and academic talents into professional opportunities that serve populations and diplomatic missions around the world.

Today, Allen oversees grant initiatives as program director for the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP). In her role, she identifies community-based health organizations—specifically, those that work with young people at risk of contracting HIV—and connects them with CTAOP funding, helps to build their organizational capacity, and connects them to other resources and networks in order to build a stronger civil society in the response to HIV/AIDS among youth.

Allen has even found a way to merge her professional endeavors with her longstanding love of soccer. As a sports envoy for the U.S. Department of State, she leads soccer clinics for young people around the world in order to support the U.S. diplomatic missions abroad. These clinics offer more than just athletic training—they engage players and their coaches in a dialogue about the importance of gender equity, diversity, respect, and leadership.

Carolina for Life: Returning to the UNC Community

A true Tar Heel, Allen never stops developing her leadership abilities. Driven by her dedication to public service, she returned to her Carolina roots in 2016 and enrolled in MPA@UNC, the online MPA program from the UNC School of Government.

Allen, who expects to graduate by the end of this year, recently explained why the degree was such an important step for her.

"It’s definitely helping me be better in my current role, whether it's program-related, policy, or advocacy. But beyond that, this MPA is valuable in that it really has helped prepare me for anything that comes my way in this constantly changing space in the public sector."