How often has your life been profoundly changed by the gifts of an extraordinary teacher? And throughout your life, have you wondered how you might show these extraordinary people how they meaningfully influenced your life's journey? Have you wished for a way to honor them, extending their uncommon generosity of spirit to future generations?

These thoughts led to the creation of The Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship for mid-career women scholars in Medieval Studies.

The Bonnie Wheeler Fellowship already has the support of long time friends, students, and colleagues in several countries over multiple continents. The fellowship seeks to honor this beloved professor in a permanent way as she enters the fourth decade of her distinguished teaching career.

The Fellowship will be offered to scholars who are "caught in the middle." It is designed for women at the associate professor level who have been "stuck" for a long period of time and need support in order to complete scholarly work leading to promotion. Studies by the Modern Language Association show that, while more women than men earn doctorates in the humanities, more men are employed in academia. They also show that women scholars in higher education have significantly less time to devote to research. Consequently, they advance more slowly and with more difficulty.

Recipients of Fellowship awards pursue a major research project that will enable them to achieve a place of major professional visibility. Each recipient is paired with a mentor in the field who aids the recipient and follows the project to its successful completion. Eventually, as gender equity is achieved, male medievalists in mid-career who are working on projects with significant implications for the fields of Women's and Medieval Studies) also will be invited to apply.

Administered by the independent Dallas Foundation, a 501 (C) (3) tax-deductible charity, the fund aims to reach an ultimate endowed base of $3.2 million. In reasonable times, this will generate some $120,000 in net annual income, enabling the Fellowship to support two scholars annually. This Fellowship is completely independent of Southern Methodist University, where Dr. Wheeler has taught since 1975 and has served as Director of the Medieval Studies Program since 1978.

The initial Fellowship Committee raised almost $250,000 when, in May 2009, Dr. Wheeler was surprised and honored with announcement of the Fellowship at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies. This is a strong indication of the Committee's commitment as we seek to extend, on a significant international level, the generosity and support that Dr. Wheeler has so long shown toward younger scholars in her academic field. If you would like to contribute now, click here.