The Richard Rawlinson Center at Western Michigan University is named in memory of the founder of the professorship of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford, Richard Rawlinson (1690-1755). The center, which houses a seminar room and a growing reference library, opened in May 1994 on Western Michigan University's East Campus. In 2005 it received the endowment established by Georgian Rawlinson Tashjian and David Reitler Tashjian to support its mission. A separate fund, also endowed by the Tashjian family, supports a study fellowship.
The center's International Advisory Board meets annually. The center has sponsored sessions and a Richard Rawlinson Center Congress Speaker at the International Congress on Medieval Studies since 1996. The center's presence is also manifested at the congress through the David R. Tashjian Travel Awards, open to scholars giving papers on topics in culture and history of early medieval England.
The Tashjian Study Fellowship, endowed in 2000 and first awarded in 2002, supports summer travel and study by a master's candidate in medieval studies. The mission of the Rawlinson Center is complemented by graduate-level course offerings in Old English, Old Norse and manuscript studies at WMU.
The Center offers the Paul E. Szarmach Prize to the author of a first article on a topic in the culture and history of early medieval England published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that is judged be the selection committee to be of outstanding quality.
The center's monograph series, Publications of the Richard Rawlinson Center, was launched with two books published in 2000. It is a scholarly series of monographs and essay collections that present research on the history, literature, and material culture of early medieval England in its wider chronological and geographical context, including its links with the European Continent and the Celtic world. The series places particular emphasis on the study of manuscripts.
Between 1994 and 2006, "Old English Newsletter" was published for the Old English Division of the Modern Languages Association of America by the Medieval Institute and the Rawlinson Center (volumes 27:4–39:4). Old English Newsletter Subsidia volumes 22–36 were published under the aegis of the center.
In the summer of 1995 the center served as host to a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for college teachers, New and Old Approaches to "Beowulf" and Old English Literature, directed by Paul E. Szarmach. Six subsequent NEH summer programs have been administered through the Rawlinson Center: Old English Literature in Its Manuscript Context at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1997); Anglo-Saxon England at Western Michigan University (1999); Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Texts at the British Library (2001); Anglo-Saxon England at the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and Trinity College, Cambridge (2004); Holy Men and Holy Women of Anglo-Saxon England at the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2006); and The Cathedral and Culture: Medieval York at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, and York Minster (2007). After a hiatus of nearly a decade, the Rawlinson Center again hosted in 2016 an NEH summer program: Teaching "Beowulf" in the Context of Old Norse-Icelandic Literature, directed by Jana K. Schulman and sited at Western Michigan University.