Support the Department of Germanic Studies

Gerhard Richter - With Permission from the Artist
Gerhard Richter, “Abstract Painting” (2001), oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

Donate to the Department of Germanic Studies

The Department of Germanic Studies is grateful for the generous support of friends and alumni. Gifts to the department make a transformational impact on our ability to support student research and build public programming that advances the study and understanding of German literature, culture, and society.

Substantial gifts from Hildegarde M. Romberg (Ph.D. 1921, A.M. '35, Ph.D. '50) and Margaret McKenzie (Ph.D., ’58) have allowed the Department to maintain a steady flow of intellectual and cultural traffic between Chicago and the German-speaking world. The endowments have supported student research and language study in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. They also make it possible for the Department to host visiting scholars from abroad to deliver public lectures and teach short-term, intensive seminars, at times co-taught with our own faculty. The gifts have also enabled our relatively small department to organize and host major conferences and workshops, indeed to become the major hub of intellectual activity at the University concerning the German-speaking world.

Philanthropy has also been critical to the comprehensive support that the department is able to offer its graduate students. Claire Swift Marwitz, a celebrated concert and opera singer (under the name Claire Dux), and Viola Manderfeld, who taught language pedagogy and methodology in the department from 1937 to 1968, both made generous gifts to Germanic Studies to support student work in the field. Recently, Dr. Carolyn Hodges, an alumna of the Germanic Studies Department and Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, also made a generous gift to foster and sustain student research. Support for our exchange with the University of Konstanz has been provided by Brigitte Birke-Dexheimer and Dr. Wolfgang Dexheimer of Bonn, Germany. Annual gifts from the Max Kade Foundation have allowed the department to design, build, and maintain a first-class teaching infrastructure. Still other gifts to the Department in honor of distinguished faculty members (Helena Gamer; Manfred Hoppe) have further enhanced the ability to share research on German literature and culture with the wider community of the department. Finally, one of our own faculty members, Eric L. Santner, holds a chair established by Ms. Romberg in honor of her parents, Philip and Ida Romberg, who both emigrated from Germany. These gifts have all been essential to the flourishing of the research and educational programs of the Department of Germanic Studies and all members of the Department know themselves very much in debt to our donors’ foresight and generosity.

Philanthropy has also been integral to the growth of new programs in the Germanics Department, particularly the Norwegian Studies and Yiddish Studies Programs. The Wiegeland Fund was established with a grant from various donors through the University of Oslo for the purpose of supporting the study of Norwegian language, literature, and culture. Since then, many contributions have been received from members of the Norwegian-American community in Chicago, the largest of which was a gift from Mr. G. Norman Wiegeland in memory of his brother, Andrew E. Wiegeland. Ulrich and Harriet Meyer have been great supporters of teaching and research related to Modern European Jewish History at the University of Chicago and through their gifts they have also helped to lay the foundation to support the teaching of Yiddish at the University, which is a growing and thriving program.

Most recently, an anonymous donor has endowed the Wilhelm von Humboldt Chair in Early Modern Germanic Culture. The donor expressed special interest in supporting scholarship and artistic programming that explores and carries forward the rich and complex legacies of the Protestant Reformation. This includes support for performances influenced by, inspired by, or in the tradition of the language that first took shape in Martin Luther's translation and interpretation of the Bible. (The case of J. S. Bach provides an especially apt example of how the German language inspired and shaped the musical unfolding of individual works).

Gifts of any amount make a critical contribution to our work. They allow us to offer more robust support to our faculty and students in their explorations of the German-speaking world both in Chicago and abroad. Those interested in further supporting the mission of the Department can make a gift to the Department of Germanic Studies at: 

For questions about how philanthropy supports the Humanities at the University of Chicago, or where to direct a specific gift, please contact:

Kevin Robbins
Director of Development, Humanities Division

To give by check, send to: 

The University of Chicago
Gift Administration and Business Data
5235 S. Harper Court
4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60615