Million-Dollar Gift Endows Howard Lasnik Chair in Linguistics

Howard Lasnik

Standing on the shoulders of giants is a phrase that aptly applies to Distinguished University Professor Howard Lasnik.

Building on the intellectual accomplishments of Noam Chomsky (known as the “father of modern linguistics”), Howard is now widely regarded as one of the world’s leading theoretical linguists. The beneficiaries of such an esteemed legacy are the linguistics students at Maryland who will carry that knowledge far into the future. As Howard proudly says, “The University of Maryland is one of the very top places in the world to study language from the Chomskyan perspective.”

Howard’s academic pursuits began at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (B.S., 1967), now Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied mathematics and English literature. He then attended Harvard for graduate school (M.A., 1969) and MIT (Ph.D., 1972), where he studied under Chomsky. Since then, Howard’s list of credentials in the linguistics field has grown exponentially. He is one of the few linguists to have co-written articles with Chomsky. His recent book publications include Minimalist Analysis (Blackwell); Syntactic Structures Revisited: Contemporary Lectures on Classic Transformational Theory (with Marcela Depiante and Arthur Stepanov, MIT Press); and A Course in Minimalist Syntax: Foundations and Prospects (with Juan Uriagereka, Blackwell).

To help ensure that the Maryland Linguistics Department maintains its stature, Howard will establish, through the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., the Howard Lasnik Chair in Linguistics. With thoughtful estate planning, Howard is making a generous $1 million gift of his life insurance policy. About five years ago he took out an insurance policy to which he contributes annually. He recently donated the policy to Maryland and received a tax deduction for the policy’s value. He will also receive a tax deduction for each premium payment he makes.

As Howard demonstrates, giving to Maryland means supporting the expectations and the fulfillment of excellence.



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