Mayers Endowed Faculty Chair of Applied Anthropology Celebration

Mayers Endowed Faculty Chair of Applied Anthropology Celebration

Dr. Marvin K. Mayers was a distinguished figure in evangelical missiological anthropology. In recognition of his teaching, writing, research, and visionary leadership in this field, the Board of Trustees of the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL), established the Marvin K. Mayers Chair of Applied Anthropology in 2012. The chair affirms the importance of applied anthropological study in GIAL’s programs.

Marvin Keene Mayers, PhD, was born in Canton, OH in 1927. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College, his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, and both a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago. Dr. Mayers taught anthropology at several schools, including Wheaton, Texas SIL (which preceded GIAL at Dallas’s International Linguistics Center) and Biola University. He also served as head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Wheaton, played a key role in establishing Biola’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies and directed Texas SIL. Among Dr. Mayers’ publications were The Pocomchi: A Sociolinguistic Study (1960), Languages of Guatemala (ed., 1966), Christianity Confronts Culture: A Strategy for Cross-Cultural Evangelism (1974), A Look at Latin American Lifestyles (1976), A Look at Filipino Lifestyles (1980), Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective (1979, co-authored with Stephen Grunlan), and Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships (1986, co-authored with Sherwood Lingenfelter).

The initiative for endowing GIAL’s first faculty chair, began with the McKee family in memory of Margaret McKee, mother of Dr. Rob McKee and a wonderful friend to many in the Bible translation community. Dr. McKee’s vision for the Mayers Chair was threefold: to honor Dr. Mayers, who was a major influence on his choice to use anthropology to serve minority-language Bible translation; to help keep GIAL student costs low by providing salary support for the chair’s holder; and to honor a well-qualified faculty member of GIAL’s Applied Anthropology Department. GIAL gratefully acknowledges the gifts of the McKee family members, friends of Margaret, and others instrumental in raising the $25,000 to establish the Mayers Endowed Faculty Chair.

A GIAL faculty chair is considered fully endowed when donations reach the $1.5 million level. Gifts to the endowment may be made in cash, stocks and bonds, personal and real property, or through trusts or other planned arrangements. Gifts may also be made as pledges over a five-year period. Once a chair’s endowment reaches the full $1.5 million level, it will fund, whether fully or in part, an occupying professor’s salary and any job-related benefits.

Other Christian anthropologists or scholars who have been honored by gifts to the Mayers Chair are: Bill Merrifield, PhD (in memoriam); Carol McKinney, PhD; Jim Wheatley, MA; Tom Headland, PhD; Jim Yost, PhD; and Elinor Abbot, PhD.

As of September 2017, over $42,000 has been raised for this endowment.

For questions regarding contributions to the Mayers Endowed Faculty Chair of Applied Anthropology, please contact the GIAL Development Office at 972-708-7547 or

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Photos from the Mayers Endowed Chair Celebration


Video from the Mayers Endowed Chair Celebration