I’ve posted about Jesse Sheidlower, Ben Zimmer, and Erin McKean before (and have links to projects by all three in the sidebar), but I didn’t realize they were all graduates of the University of Chicago, which has a nice online piece by Debra Kamin about them:
Getting people excited about the inner lives of words is the distinctive mission for a trio of University alumni who have become ambassadors of lexicography. Harnessing their Chicago educations in linguistics and English, the three “wordinistas” are putting a public face on modern language studies.[...] All of them are helping to shape perceptions about the importance of language, each with a slightly different bent.
I liked this quote from McKean: “I perverted all of the classes I took at the U. of C. to be about dictionaries in some way. I took feminist theory with Lauren Berlant, and I wrote my paper about the acceptance of ‘Ms.’” (Hat tip to Dave Wilton.)