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Decker Chair in the Humanities

Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Established in 1973 by Fannie Fox Decker

DeckerFannieFoxFANNIE FOX DECKER, a longtime supporter of the university, made several generous gifts in honor of her son, ALONZO G. DECKER JR., her husband, ALONZO G. DECKER SR. (pictured below), and the Decker family. Mrs. Decker, who died in 1981, established the Decker Chair in the Humanities during her lifetime and, through her estate, provided support for the Peabody Institute and for a chair in mechanical engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering.

The family’s relationship with Hopkins began when Alonzo G. Decker Sr. and his future business partner, S. Duncan Black, worked at the Rowland Telegraph Company owned by Henry A. Rowland, professor of physics at Hopkins from 1876 to 1901 and one of the 19th century’s most important physicists.

DeckerAlonzoThe senior Mr. Decker’s formal education reached only the seventh grade, and he believed that working with Professor Rowland was his most significant educational experience. Al Decker Jr. succeeded his father as chief executive officer of Black & Decker Corporation and helped lead the manufacturing firm to international prominence. He headed a successful Hopkins fundraising campaign in the 1970s and made generous gifts, including the endowment of professorships in science and engineering.

Held by William Egginton


WILLIAM EGGINTON is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Decker Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute. His research and teaching focus on Spanish and Latin American literature, literary theory, and the relation between literature and philosophy.

Professor Egginton is the author of numerous books, including How the World Became a Stage (2003), Perversity and Ethics (2006), A Wrinkle in History (2007), The Philosopher’s Desire (2007), The Theater of Truth (2010), In Defense of Religious Moderation (Columbia UP, 2011), The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World (Bloomsbury, 2016), and, with David Castillo, Medialogies: Reading Reality in the Age of Inflationary Media (Bloomsbury, 2017). He is also the co-editor, with Mike Sandbothe, of The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy (2004) and, with David E. Johnson, of Thinking With Borges (2009), as well as the translator of Lisa Block de Behar’s Borges, the Passion of an Endless Quotation (2003).