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Gift Opportunities

Contributions to the Anthropology Department are much appreciated and are a great help to us in our research and teaching missions. Some examples of things that private contributions have been used for in recent years:

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Support for Graduate Student Fieldwork

Our graduate students typically spend a year travelling to and living in distant locations where they conduct their dissertation research. Some conduct archeological digs or study artifact archives; others interview speakers of endangered languages; still others study cultural practices in societies very different from our own.  Such research demands a tremendous amount of preparation--only some of which can be done here in the classroom or the library. The vast majority of our students spend their summers travelling to potential research sites, learning the local languages, making contacts in the community, and gathering initial data that prepare them for the demanding task of obtaining external grants to support their year of fieldwork. Invaluable in this process has been the generosity of our alumni providing small pots of money that students have used to prepare for their fieldwork, or to return to the field for brief follow-up projects while they are writing their dissertations. Gifts to the department have in recent years supported such activities as:

  • Summer language training in Tok Pisin (New Guinea), Swahili (Tanzania), Tohono O'odham (Arizona), and many, many others.
  • Preliminary visits to prospective field sites in Madagascar, Sicily, Vanuatu, and many, many others.
  • Travel to special conferences in Denmark, or to unique archives in Finland, or to archeological labs in Peru to complete specialized artefact analyses, among many, many others.
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Support for Undergraduate Research Assistants

Nothing excites undergraduate majors like the opportunity to conduct their own research projects or to learn from, and contribute to ongoing faculty or advanced graduate student research projects. Many of our faculty (and some of our dissertation-writing students as well!) offer course credit for undergraduate students who want to pursue interests that emerged from their classes. Others welcome undergraduate students to help with ongoing research projects. Currently students are helping with research on the ethics and poetics of the Tumblr social media site, the linguistic construction of Asian-American identity in popular YouTube channels, and media coverage of the Coronavirus Pandemic, among many other active collaborations. Prior projects have included digitizing our unique Charles L. Perdue and Nancy J. Martin-Perdue Folklore Archive, cataloguing books in the Dell and Virginia Hymes Linguistic Anthropology Library, and helping to transcribe, code, and preserve data for faculty research projects.

All of these activities benefit from alumni gifts that have provided the resources to pay students, or purchase materials, or support travel.

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Brooks Hall Improvements

Alumni donations have also helped the department transform our work and teaching spaces in Brooks Hall into a warm and inviting place for intellectual engagement. Gifts have helped create the shelving for additions to our department library and contributed to the comfy seating now serving our students in our offices and hallways.

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Support for Student-Faculty Events

Alumni donations have been instrumental in our development of two inspiring annual departmental events: the Department Lecture Series and the Undergraduate Majors' Dinner with Alumni and Faculty. Each year the department brings 5-10 prominent scholars in anthropology and related fields to Charlottesville to share their most current research ideas, to engage with our graduate students and their research interests, and to interact with faculty in our and other departments. These talks are attended by dozens, sometimes hundreds of students, professors, and community members; they are followed by stylish receptions in our beautiful Brooks Hall Entry Hall; they form one of the central means for socializing, introducing young students to the most current ideas in the field and allowing young majors to network with leading scholars in our fields.

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Support for Conferences

The Anthropology Department has been extremely active over the years in organizing workshops and conferences at the University, and alumni donations have been an instrumental part of our ability to do so. Here are links to just some of the recent (and upcoming) events we have sponsored and organized with alumni support:


We hope you will consider a donation! If you would like to contribute to the Anthropology Department, you can contact our Department Chair to discuss your ideas and our current needs, or you can go directly to the College's Giving Page for Anthropology

Many thanks!