Tribute to Jill de Villiers from the UMass Linguistics faculty

The faculty of the UMass Amherst Linguistics department wishes to recognize and celebrate the enormous contributions made to our intellectual community by Professor Jill de Villiers, who after a long and distinguished career, has just recently retired from Smith College.

Professor de Villiers has contributed indispensibly to our research on language acquisition, communication disorders, and African American English. Beyond simply collaborating with students and faculty on a wide variety of papers and presentations, she has served on innumerable dissertation committees in Linguistics, Communication Disorders, and Psychology, including one that she chaired (in Psychology), covering a broad variety of topics in language acquisition and African American English.

Professor de Villiers has participated extensively in sponsored research here at UMass Amherst, serving as member or Co-PI on grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Sloan Foundation. This work notably includes her co-authorship of the well-known DELV Assessment Instrument, the result of a unique cross-disciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Linguistics and Communication Disorders.

Though Professor de Villiers has retired from Smith College, she remains a central figure in our academic community. As both Adjunct Professor and a highly active member of the Language Acquisition Research Center, she continues to be an important resource for our faculty and students. We look forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration, and wish her the very best in this new stage of her life and career.