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Giving back

By  Terre Fisher

For more than 20 years the interdisciplinary program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies in U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts has given graduate and undergraduate students a unique opportunity to study with distinguished faculty in history,  history of art, architecture, archaeology, literature, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, religious studies  and music.

The program is distinctive because of its global conception, embracing work on the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas as well as Europe, the traditional focus of MEMS scholarship. It also covers a broad temporal range, from ca. 500 CE to 1800 CE, late antiquity through the Industrial Revolution in Europe and encourages exploration of the cultural range of this period in and across other geographic regions.

To support into the future the institutional home of MEMS faculty and graduate students, longtime faculty member Thomas Green and his wife Ruth (photo left), an artist, have established a $50,000 endowment. Green, a professor emeritus of law and history, has participated in MEMS for many years. The endowment will support the interdisciplinary collective enterprise featuring conferences, public lectures, discussion groups, dissertation writing workshops, and summer research grants to graduate students, which are critical to the scholarship and teaching of its members.

“We made this gift in recognition of the large number of extraordinarily talented and devoted faculty and students in the MEMS program,” Green said. “We are making this gift on the 40th anniversary of our arrival at U-M and the first year of the Medieval and Renaissance Collegium, which was MEMS predecessor. Our gift is a small but heart-felt return for all that the pre-modern community has given me and, we hope, a foundation for succeeding generations of this remarkable intellectual community.”

Terrence J. McDonald, dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, said the endowment will provide important support for the MEMS program.

“With this generous gift, Tom and Ruth Green create a legacy in a field that has been a focus of Tom’s scholarship and service for more than four decades,” McDonald said. “Faculty support is an inspiring endorsement of the work of the university. We are deeply grateful for this gift.”

George Hoffmann, associate professor of French and head of the MEMS program, also praised the Greens’ generosity.

“Words nearly fail one when it comes to describing Tom and Ruth Green’s generosity to the MEMS program over the years,” Hoffmann says. “They have devoted their time, their home, and, now, financial resources to help keep the program healthy.”

The program offers a minor for undergraduates and a certificate program for graduate students. Recent graduates have pursued careers in medicine, law, library and information science, business and teaching at universities and colleges.

The MEMS program is part of U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the university’s largest college with more than 19,000 students and 70 departments and programs. More than 40 of these programs and departments are ranked among the top 10 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 graduate school rankings.

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Terre Fisher is a senior administrative assistant in the University of Michigan’s LSA History Department.