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LSA Victors Gift Campaign: Priorities for Linguistics

Our largest-ever fundraising campaign is ambitious, visionary, purposeful — worthy of the name “Victors.” The $400 million goal is built upon the cornerstone of the liberal arts: the idea that a powerful, pragmatic education can transform hearts and minds, can solve problems in a changing world, can yield ideas and innovation across every discipline. That’s why we are focused on raising money so that the best and brightest minds can have access to the College through robust scholarship support, no matter their financial circumstances. So too are we committed to helping every student acquire not just knowledge in the classroom, but experiences outside the academy including innovative entrepreneurial efforts and internships. We strive to support our faculty on the frontlines of research, and steward our planet, our community, our campus. To do all this, and so much more, the College needs you — because the world needs Victors.

Department of Linguistics


The Department of Linguistics at the University of Michigan is one of the very few departments in the United States that captures the inherent breadth of the discipline by exploring the cognitive, social, cultural, and developmental aspects of language. Faculty and students investigate language structure, history, knowledge, behavior, and use. Faculty research aims to integrate these diverse approaches to language in ways that engender new modes of linguistic inquiry and new research domains.


By virtue of language’s role in human interactions and activities, linguistics is situated at the intersection of the humanities and the social, biological, and behavioral sciences. Linguistics forms an important part of a strong liberal arts education because it trains students to develop skills in data analysis, analytic thinking, qualitative and quantitative reasoning, problem solving, and critical inquiry. Our undergraduates pursue careers that span the professions, including publishing and communications, computational fields, and teaching at a variety of levels. Our undergraduates are highly competitive for placement in top graduate programs in linguistics, psychology, law, speech and hearing sciences, anthropology, philosophy, and information technology. Our graduate students become professors at universities and colleges across the United States and throughout the world, bringing with them a commitment to the broad-based exploration of human language and to maintaining linguistics as a vital part of undergraduate education.


Gifts from alumni and friends enable the Department to compete with leading private universities for top faculty and students. Our capacity to attract and retain leading scholars, outstanding graduate students, and competitive undergraduates is linked to strengthening our standing both nationally and internationally. Support for the research of undergraduates is vital and enables them to complete projects, attend conferences, and work with high-profile scholars.


$1M endowed/$50,000 annually

Educating graduate students is closely connected with our undergraduate educational mission, both because our graduate students, in their role as apprentice teachers, work with our undergraduates and because graduate students will embark on teaching careers after they receive their Ph.D. While we offer a full five-year funding package to all incoming graduate students, our ability to offer more than one year of fellowship/research support is limited; most graduate students have teaching assignments for the majority of their graduate careers. The ability to guarantee an additional year of fellowship/research support would enhance our students’ professional development and also help us attract top applicants.


$50,000 to $100,000 annually

This fund will support projects such as on-campus conferences, faculty research, and new teaching initiatives. Gifts are extraordinarily important if we are to create and take advantage of exciting opportunities. We continue to develop new, often collaborative, teaching initiatives, especially ones that help us implement our vision of integrating cognitive and social aspects of language knowledge and use. Support will also help us organize conferences that bring leading scholars to our campus. Additionally, funding will enable us to continue to build our experiential practice program, which links promising undergraduates with highly innovative projects in industry, education, and the non-profit sector.


$10,000 to $50,000 annually

Our undergraduate curriculum centers on making the results of linguistic research accessible to undergraduates while providing them with opportunities for hands-on experience in conducting their own original research projects. Our undergraduates often present their research results at national and occasionally international conferences, where their work is showcased alongside that of well-established scholars. Making funds available for undergraduate research will enable us to offer these kinds of opportunities to more of our students.


$10,000 to $50,000 annually

Experimental research is becoming increasingly necessary in a wide range of subfields of our discipline. We now have three active laboratories, but keeping them running smoothly can be difficult, especially since only a small amount of grant support is available for linguistic research. Gifts are essential for us to maintain state-of-the-art laboratories


$5,000 to $10,000 annually

Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates are eager to conduct substantial fieldwork, especially to document and help preserve endangered languages. This is a top priority for the field of linguistics today, with 50 to 90 percent of the world’s 6,000 languages predicted to vanish by the end of this century. Funding for field research will enable more of our faculty and students to document the languages of the communities where they conduct their research.

* Campaign Funding Priorities.pdf
Download Linguistic's Campaign Priorities in PDF


Your gifts of cash, pledges, or appreciated securities change lives. Wills, estate, and planned gifts allow you to create a lasting legacy that will enable the best and brightest minds to experience a liberal arts education, solve problems in a changing world, and yield ideas and innovations that will make a difference in Michigan 


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