Umar Faruq Abd-Allah is an American Muslim, born in 1948 to a Protestant family in Columbus, Nebraska. He grew up in Athens, Georgia, where both parents taught at the University of Georgia. Dr. Abd-Allah did his undergraduate work at the University of Missouri with dual majors in history and English literature. He made the dean’s list all semesters and was nominated to the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society. In 1969, he won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and entrance to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, to pursue a PhD program in English literature.