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William J. Gedney
Regents' Proceedings 960

William John Gedney, Professor of Linguistics, has retired from active faculty status as of May 31, 1981, after a most productive and distinguished career as a teacher and scholar.

Born in Orchards, Washington, Professor Gedney received the A.B. from Whitman College in 1935 and the Ph.D. from Yale University in 1947. He joined The University of Michigan in 1960.

Professor Gedney is unique in his field, a pioneer in the study of Thai linguistics. He was among the first American linguists to study the Thai language and his name had become synonymous with the field of comparative Thai. He has combined the knowledge of the native tradition of Thai scholars with the insights of Western linguistics analysis and thus stands as a bridge between pre-modern and modern studies of Thai. The breadth of his knowledge and the depth of his insight in this field are acknowledged and admired by scholars throughout the world.

As a teacher, Professor Gedney has shared his love and vast knowledge of Thai linguistics with warmth, understanding, and patience. So much so that at this time most Thai scholars in this country are Gedney students. For his sixtieth birthday he received two festschrifts from his former students, one group organized in this country and another in Thailand.

Early in his career Professor Gedney was employed as a lexicographer. The expertise he gained from that work on dictionary making has been drawn upon by the University by appointing him to the Middle English Dictionary Council. Professor Gedney has also served the University importantly by being acting chairman (1970-71) and then chairman (1971-75) of the Department of Linguistics. He also organized and served as director of the immensely successful Linguistic Institute of the Linguistics Society of America, which took place at Michigan in the summer of 1973. Professor Gedney has more recently devoted himself to work on a comprehensive dictionary of comparative Thai, a massive project uniting his scholarly expertise in lexicography and in Thai linguistics.

In all of the traditional areas of academic activity, William J. Gedney has contributed greatly to the distinction of the University. It is with gratitude and pride that the Regents now salute this dedicated scholar and teacher by naming him Professor Emeritus of Linguistics.