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Rebecca "Becky" Moreton UM Linguistics Fund

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Project ended on August 30, at 01:39 PM CDT
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Rebecca “Becky” Moreton UM Linguistics Fund Pays Tribute to Beloved Oxford Couple

Photo by Bruce Newman

Throughout their lives, Becky and Al Moreton exemplified love: love for each other in their nearly 60 years of marriage, and love for their community by working to bring positive change to Oxford for nearly as long.

The Moretons were known for their daily walks, often hand-in-hand, around Oxford. After their deaths from a car accident in 2016, mourners at their joint funeral service walked from Oxford University United Methodist Church through downtown to the graveside service.

Both Moretons believed in service to others, and their work for the University of Mississippi stretched back many decades. Al Moreton served as the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi from 1962 to 1963 and 1969 to 2004. In his first months on the job, he prosecuted rioters who were trying to block the integration of the University of Mississippi by James Meredith.

Becky Moreton had a Ph.D. in linguistics and had been a French instructor in the UM Department of Modern Languages. To honor her memory and her deep love for education, the Moreton family has established the Rebecca “Becky” Moreton UM Linguistics Fund in support of the College of Liberal Arts linguistics program. 

The Moreton Fund will provide the linguistics program with needed support to serve students for many years to come, ensuring that Becky Moreton’s good works continue long after her passing.

In addition to her work at the university, Becky Moreton helped plan a better Oxford as a member of the Pathways Commission. Oxford City Engineer Reanna Mayoral remembers her as a “force of nature who left her mark on Oxford and everyone she met, making the city better in ways both big and small,” Mayoral said.  

“We continue to place a penny in new sidewalks poured around town in honor of Ms. Becky and Mr. Moreton so they will continue to be a part of every improvement in the town they loved and made so much better just by being them,” Mayoral said.

Becky Moreton graduated from the University of Mississippi and earned a doctorate in linguistics from Tulane University in 2001. She was in U.S. government service as a linguist at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C. in the 1960s. After returning to Oxford in the 1970s, she joined the UM Department of Modern Languages and taught undergraduate courses. In her spare time, she was an active member of the League of Women Voters and worked for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

“Becky Moreton was my colleague and dear friend, and I miss her greatly,” said Donald L. Dyer, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and distinguished professor of modern languages. “She was one of the finest linguistic minds I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and it is a beautiful tribute to her and her husband, Al, that they are being honored in this way.

Mourners at the Moretons' 2016 funeral walked through Oxford in their honor.

 “The Department of Modern Languages and the University of Mississippi will forever be grateful for this fund in memory of Becky and Al and for the opportunity the fund provides Becky’s colleagues and linguistics students to honor and remember her as well.”

Becky Moreton’s longtime advocacy for education can continue with your support. Please consider a gift today to the Rebecca “Becky” Moreton UM Linguistics Fund and ensure that her passion for learning lives on through future generations.

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37 French Phonemes

In linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. In French, which Becky Moreton taught in the UM Department of Modern Languages for many years, there are 37 phonemes. Please give $37 to support the department's students now and in the future!


Sixty Years Strong

Rebecca "Becky" Moreton and Al Moreton were married for 60 years, working together to make the Oxford community better for others. They were beloved for their daily, hand-in-hand walks through downtown. Their death in a car accident in 2016 was mourned by the entire community.


LIN 200: Introduction

Sophomore linguistics majors begin their journey toward a degree in linguistics by taking Linguistics 200, an introduction to the scientific study of human language. Students learn to analyze words, sounds, sentences, and meaning and explore how language is used, how it changes and how it is acquired. Moreton earned a Ph.D. in linguistics in 2001, and her family has chosen to honor her dedication to the field with a fund to support the department she loved. Please make a gift in memory of her work!


Expanding UM's Reach

Attending academic conferences is an essential part of a professor's duties. This year, the registration costs for attending the Linguistic Society of America's annual conference were $400. Hotel registrations make the total cost even higher! The Becky Moreton UM Linguistics Fund will help ensure UM linguistics professors stay at the top of their field by offsetting the costs of attending essential academic conferences and meetings.

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