Margaret Reynolds

Posted: September 2020

The LSA regrets to announce the death of Margaret Reynolds, who served the LSA for over thirty years in various capacities, concluding her service as Executive Director in 2007.  Read her obituary here, which includes details about a virtual funeral service on Saturday, Sept 26, 2020. In 2006, Reynolds was honored with the Victoria A. Fromkin Award for lifetime service to the LSA. This notice will be updated as we have a chance to collect further information about Maggie's many contributions to the LSA.

Remembrances may be posted in the comments box below and will be shared with Reynolds' family. Sympathy cards may be sent to Chris Reynolds, 11450 Asbury Circle, Apt. 124, Solomons, MD 20688.

Excerpts from the Fromkin award citation:

Margaret W. Reynolds, Executive Director of the Linguistic Society of America, is this year's recipient of the Victoria A. Fromkin Award for service to the field of linguistics. It is especially fitting that this award to Maggie bears Vicki Fromkin's name.  In her own service to the Society as President and as Secretary-Treasurer, Vicki worked closely with Maggie to expand the Society's horizons, a move that also greatly expanded Maggie's responsibilities.  For over thirty years now, Maggie has been the public face of the LSA, committing her energies and passions to the Society's well-being.   She has communicated with hundreds of members about Society business on a regular basis, inquiring about possible hosts for biennial linguistic institutes, passing along suggestions to various committees for useful projects, organizing program committee deliberations, working with local linguists to ensure the smooth running of our annual meetings.  During these annual meetings Maggie seems to be everywhere doing everything at once.  She personally welcomes attendees, making us feel like honored guests at an enormous social event she is hosting, but at the same time she participates in many committee meetings, consults with various members about Society projects, and also rides herd on hotel personnel to get chairs set up, projectors readied, coffee delivered, and the like.   Indeed, Maggie is highly skilled in crisis management of many different kinds at many different levels of complexity and challenge.  In the fall of 2004, for example, she managed to relocate  the meeting site from San Francisco to Oakland at the eleventh hour so that members would not be faced with picketing hotel employees.   Several other societies ended up having to shift their meeting locations hundreds of miles away from San Francisco or their dates by several weeks. Maggie's efforts on our behalf spared LSA members the considerable inconvenience and expense of such disruptive changes.  Most LSA members probably think of Maggie as tending exclusively to the internal affairs of the Society, but she also represents the Society to a wider public.  She is busy helping organize outreach  activities aimed at legislators and funding agencies as well as working with our sister scholarly societies on a variety of projects of concern to the profession.   And she even graciously replies to inquiries from a wide range of laypeople, ranging from 8th-graders curious about the origins of language to advertising folks who want assistance in creating effective brand names for the global marketplace, putting questioners in touch with relevant experts.   Margaret W. Reynolds has served the field of linguistics with distinction: this award is but a small token of our gratitude and affection.