By Andries W. Coetzee
Oct 13, 2012
Sally Thomason, chair of our Department and William J. Gedney Collegiate Professor of Linguistics, was honored this past week by her alma mater, Yale University. Sally is a recipient of the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association's Wilbur Cross Medal. This medal, named after Dean Wilbur Cross who oversaw the creation of the Yale Graduate School early in the 20th century, is the highest honor bestowed by the Yale Graduate School on its alumni and "recognizes distinguished achievements in scholarship, teaching, academic administration, and public service". Sally is only the second linguist to be honored with this medal, the first being famous early American linguist Mary Haas, who received the award in 1977.
This is a well-deserved recognition for Sally who has contributed to the field linguistics in many ways over a long and illustrious career. Her groundbreaking work on language contact has lead to the creation and flourishing of a whole new research area in linguistics. Her tireless documentation of Montana Salish sets an example in thoroughness and quality that all fieldwork linguists should aspire to. She has also served the field of linguistics in many capacities, including as editor of Language from 1988 to 1984, as president of the Linguistic Society of America in 2009 and 2010, and as chair of the Department of Linguistics here at Michigan since 2010.
An article about this year's Wilbur Cross Medal recipients in the Yale News is available here.
Congratulations to Sally!