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Giving Opportunities

How to Make a Gift to Asian Language and Cultures

T H E  V I S I O N

The vast continent of Asia is home to the majority of the world's population and to cultures with an ancient past and a vibrant present. The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures is an internationally renowned center for the exploration of the humanities of Asia, where students are invited to cross the boundaries of nations (like China, India, Korea, and Indonesia) and of disciplines (like literature, film, language, religion, and history) in order develop two vital qualities: deep local knowledge and a broad global perspective. The Department offers instruction in the languages and cultures of Asia (including Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Javanese, Korean, Punjabi, Sanskrit,Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, and Vietnamese) so that our students may be enriched by the treasures of the past and participate in the conversations of the future.

T H E  V A L U E

China is the world's most populous nation, followed by India. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. The religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Shinto all began in Asia. Asia is the source of some of the most enduring works of art and literature in history, as well as some of the most current cultural forms, from Hindi film music to Hong Kong action films. Our students have gone on to careers in intercultural exchange programs, in international banking, and in international law. They have become scholars of Japanese poetry and of Chinese Buddhism. And they have expressed themselves as distinguished artists. But regardless of the careers they pursue, students who study in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures set out from Ann Arbor with an understanding of Asia that will shape their worlds.

T H E  D I F F E R E N C E 

The excellence of our program depends upon the generosity of donors from Michigan, from across the United States, and from around the world. In one sense, Asia is next door, but it is also far away - and our ability to take our students to Asia for study and to bring Asian scholars, writers, and artists to Ann Arbor is crucial to our success. In our curriculum, we seek to build on existing strengths and to open new realms of study.

A Fund for Cultural Exchange ($1.6 million endowed, $80,000 annually)

The education of our students is greatly enriched by the presence in the classroom of scholars and artists from Asia. The Department seeks to establish an endowed fund to provide the opportunity to bring at least one distinguished visitor to Ann Arbor each year.

Scholarly Research and Resources Fund ($1 million endowed, $50,000 annually)

Alumni and friends may support research in any one of the Department's specific areas or may designate a gift to be directed, at the Chair's discretion, to the research area of greatest need. Beyond the appeal of contributing to cutting-edge scholarly activity in one of the Department's research areas, this type of support can also help the Department retain faculty members who are potential targets for recruitment to one of our rival universities. An endowed gift of $1 million will provide $50,000 per year, which will aid in the retention of our brightest scholars.

Endowed Lectureship in an Asian Language ($1 million endowed, $50,000 annually)

The Department offers instruction in seventeen Asian languages: Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Javanese, Korean, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, and Vietnamese. These include fifteen of the least commonly taught languages in the United States and the world. This array of language offerings provides our students unparalleled opportunities to explore broadly and deeply the myriad cultures of Asia. The Department seeks an endowment that will help preserve these rare opportunities for our students. A gift of $1 million will provide $50,000 per year, enough to endow a named lectureship in one of these languages in perpetuity.

An Endowment for Graduate Education ($300,000 to $1 million endowed, $15,000 to $50,000 annually)

To be competitive with other top-tier graduate programs the Department needs to provide full funding for each student, and we currently lack the funds to maintain this edge in attracting the top students. We need the help of our donors to assure the continued viability of our programs. Excellent graduate students attract and help us retain excellent faculty members. We seek to raise $1 million in endowed funds for graduate student fellowships.

Students receiving fellowships are better positioned for success in a rigorous graduate program because they do not have to manage teaching responsibilities along with the intense demands of study. Our goal is to award fellowships to every entering graduate student. The cost to support a student for one year is $37,500. A gift of $750,000 will endow a named fellowship and provide support for one student per year, in perpetuity.

In addition, graduate students in Asian Languages and Cultures typically spend one or two semesters abroad for dissertation research during their doctoral career. This research, along with the experience of living in the culture they will eventually teach, is crucial to our students' research and teaching success. Tuition and a stipend for one student is $15,000 per semester, and funding for one semester can be endowed for $300,000, as a named research fellowship.

Institute for the Study of Buddhist Literature ($500,000 endowed, $25,000 annually)

The Department is home to one of the most distinguished Buddhist Studies programs in the world. As Buddhism continues to grow in importance within the United States, the Department seeks to provide forums for the exploration of Buddhist philosophy and practice by bringing distinguished Buddhist scholars and monks to Ann Arbor to teach courses, participate in seminars, and engage in dialogue with our students.

Scholarships for Summer Study in Asia ($300,000 endowed, $15,000 annually)

The opportunity to study in Asia significantly enhances the education of our students. We seek an endowment to provide scholarships that will allow our students to participate in a wide array of study abroad programs across Asia. An endowed gift of $300,000 will result in annual expendable funds of $15,000. This is enough to provide three students, through an annual competition, with scholarships for summer study in Asia.

Department Strategic Fund ($100,000)

Expendable, undesignated gifts are extraordinarily important to the continuing success and growth of the Department. Contributions to the Strategic Fund make it possible to meet unexpected needs and challenges such as:

  • Seed funding for faculty projects
  • Sponsorship of distinguished international visitors
  • International conferences highlighting the Department's scholarship ($25,000 per conference)
  • Innovative curriculum development and integration of information technology into our courses
  • Publication subventions

The Department Strategic Fund can be endowed for $2 million to provide ongoing flexible support for the Department's priorities.


All donors will be eligible for Presidential Society Recognition opportunities, including the President's Club ($15,000), the Tappan Society ($50,000) and the Hutchins Society ($100,000).