Jean McGuire (RC '75, LSA Sociology major)

was recently speaking with her financial planner about her retirement portfolio, and a surprising coincidence emerged. Jean had participated in the French program in the RC and studied one year in Aix-en-Provence. It turned out that her financial planner had served as director of that very same program. Jean later taught at the John Molson School of Business in Montreal where her French language skills proved to be a valuable asset. She also took two sabbaticals in France. Jean is currently the William W. Rucks IV Endowed Chair, department chair, and Professor of Management at the Rucks Department of Management at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.


Study abroad continues to be one of the most impactful experiences for many students in the RC, taking the language skills they learned in EQ into the world. Teryn Milliner, RC class of 2015, reflects: “As a young black woman from Detroit with an economically challenged background, studying German and traveling abroad has immeasurably impacted my life and belief system. In a counseling session with Janet Hegman Shier, I was introduced to the idea of studying German. Before studying abroad (primarily in Berlin, Germany) I had never even been on a plane. Now, I feel confident going to any city in the world and can comfortably navigate their transit system and explore on my own with ease. Had it not been for the RC German Theater program which afforded me the opportunity, I would not have even conceived going to Germany, Terezin or German Concentration Camps, doing walking tours of Berlin, learning the history of German art, architecture and city planning; not to mention visiting the East German Stasi prison, productions of world-renowned German theater, working with at-risk German-immigrant youth (performing with them!) and dancing with Berlin choreographer, Jacalyn Carley (Founder of Tanzfabrik), and so much more."

Thinking of the impact that her study abroad experience had on herself, Jean turned to the RC in June to see if she could help. We are grateful to Jean for making a bequest, one of the largest gifts ever made to the RC, that will establish the Jean McGuire Language Study Fund to provide financial aid to RC students who study or intern abroad, and expand the support we provide through offerings like the Donald and June Brown Fund, the Amy Rose Silverman Scholarship and the Honeli Fund. Jean hopes her Fund will bolster the RC's long-term efforts to help students lose their fear of making mistakes while learning a foreign language and enjoy what she describes as the "very liberating experience" that the RC program was for her and many, many other students. 

Dominique Butler-Borruat, head of the RC French Program, tells students regularly that "learning a foreign language requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and letting go because you have to use a communication tool that you do not master perfectly. Making mistakes and learning from them is an essential part of the process of learning a new language, and it teaches humility and resilience." 

Are you thinking about making a donation to the Residential College?

We would welcome your support for a current program offering that had a significant impact on you. If you'd like to discuss the possibilities, please contact Robby Griswold from the RC Communications office at 734-647-9960 or at

"Jean McGuire’s gracious and generous bequest to the RC reminds all of us how alumni can make a powerful difference in the lives of current students. Many RC students come to U-M from underprivileged backgrounds, and by offering financial support to those students, donors can help defray the cost of study abroad, ease the burden of taking unpaid internships, or even help students afford tuition and books. Even when alumni are not in a position to make financial contributions, they can render meaningful help to students by staying active in the RC community." - RC Director, Jon Wells

We are grateful for Jean and all the donors who support our work in the Residential College. Together we can ensure a strong future for an intimate liberal arts education at University of Michigan.