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W. Ann and Rachel Reynolds Dissertation Fellowship Fund

The Graduate College's largest gift ever

Former UIC administrator and faculty member, W. Ann Reynolds, along with her alumna daughter, Rachel Reynolds, recently gave $1 million to support UIC graduate students studying English.

Dr. W. Ann Reynolds taught in the Department of Anatomy in the College of Medicine in the 1960s and '70s, working specifically in Histology and conducting funded research. She spent 14 years at UIC, eventually rising to become the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate College. She left Chicago to serve as Provost at Ohio State University, Chancellor at California State University, City University of New York, and President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Reynolds is the only person to have headed two (CSU and CUNY) of the three largest systems of higher education in the United States. Rachel Reynolds graduated from UIC with her masters in Anthropology and PhD in English and now serves as an Associate Professor of Communication and graduate faculty member in Communication, Culture and Media at Drexel University.

Together, they established the W. Ann and Rachel Reynolds Dissertation Fellowship Fund to support post-exam fellowships for students pursuing a PhD in English. The award honors the experiences each had at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is intended to inspire promising students to overcome obstacles toward the successful and timely completion of their dissertations.

“The mentoring I received as a young assistant professor teaching Histology really enabled my career as a teacher and scientist” said W. Ann Reynolds. “With gratitude and admiration, I remember Drs. Jack Corbally, William J. Grove, S.R.M. Reynolds, Olga Jonasson and Edith MacRae.  I cherish their wise help and deeply admire their contributions to the University of Illinois at Chicago.”

The fellowship is housed in UIC’s Graduate College, which brings together 8,000 graduate students across the university with outstanding research faculty in a diverse and stimulating urban environment. English is one of 90 master’s and 60 doctoral programs across UIC and it resides in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Graduate English areas of study include English Studies, English Education, and the Program for Writers. Students also participate in several interdepartmental concentrations.

“UIC’s English department is a very special program, working with large numbers of non-traditional students, children of immigrants, and students of color,” said Rachel. “For years, UIC English PhDs have gone on to extraordinary influence in people’s lives, in places like Berkeley and East Lansing but also Chicago-based spaces of educational opportunity like Wright College and Roosevelt University. We wanted to contribute to keeping this legacy strong as it’s one of the most important conduits for the human development of diverse peoples in American society that we can think of.”

“The Graduate College is delighted to see this wonderful gift come to fruition,” stated Karen Colley, dean of the Graduate College. “Providing funding at the PhD candidate level is crucial for helping students to complete their degrees. I am humbled and in awe of the Reynolds’ vision, passion, and dedication to UIC students,” continued Dean Colley, who also leads a federally funded grant to prepare students of color for a graduate career in the biomedical sciences.

This generous contribution counts toward IGNITE: The Campaign for UIC in its efforts to support student success. It answers the University and Colleges’ aim to remove the burden of financial worry from UIC’s talented graduate students.

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