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William Fontaine

February 2, 2010

William Thomas Valeria Fontaine (1909-1968) became the first Black faculty member to receive tenure at the University of Pennsylvania when he became an Associate Professor in 1963. Fontaine earned his Masters Degree in 1932 and a Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1936, both from Penn. He also served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1944 to 1952. Fontaine was an eminent scholar of philosophy and advocate for the improvement of race relations. The Fontaine Fellowships, which are awarded to Ph.D. students representing underrepresented minority groups, were established in his honor.

For additional information, please see:  University ArchivesThe African American RegistryWikipedia. Also see Bruce Kuklick’s, Black Philosopher, White Academy: The Career of William Fontaine (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).

Mariama Perry
COL ‘11

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