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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University July 25, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 40
'South Quad' Now Alonzo G. and Virginia G. Decker Quadrangle

The visitor center, bottom, anchors the south end of the Decker Quad; access to the underground garage is to its west. The computational sciences building is at right.

The "South Quadrangle," as the planned quad on the Homewood campus has been informally known during the design process, has now been officially named the Alonzo G. and Virginia G. Decker Quadrangle, in honor of the Baltimore couple's decades of service to and generosity toward Johns Hopkins.

The university's board of trustees voted in June to name the new quad, which will rise west of Shriver Hall, replacing what is now a parking lot. Garland Hall will form its northern edge.

Alonzo Decker Jr., the longtime chairman and CEO of Black & Decker Corp. who died in 2002, was a university trustee and presidential counselor for more than 30 years. He chaired the university's groundbreaking Hopkins Hundreds fund-raising campaign in the 1970s. Virginia Decker has been a member of the advisory council for the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education.

"The development of this important new quadrangle as the southern gateway to Homewood is a perfect opportunity for us to honor the Deckers and their commitment to Johns Hopkins," President William R. Brody said. "Just as Al and Virginia have helped advance the university on so many fronts, Decker Quadrangle will help build our future in undergraduate education, interdisciplinary research, service to the community and our alumni, and areas as yet uncharted."

Site preparation work for the quad has already begun, and full-scale construction will start in September. A 28,000-square-foot admissions and visitor center, which will also house facilities for alumni meetings, will anchor the quadrangle on its southern edge, facing out toward the community and serving as a welcoming landmark for prospective students and other visitors. A 79,000-square-foot interdisciplinary computational sciences building will define the quad's eastern border; Clark Hall, the biomedical engineering building completed in 2001, stands across from the computational science site. The quad also contains two sites for future buildings.

Underneath Decker Quad will be a three-level, 604-space garage, covered by a grass field. The garage will provide parking for university employees and visitors and for the nearby Baltimore Museum of Art. The project is scheduled for completion in 2007.

Alonzo Decker headed Black & Decker Corp., the company his father co-founded, from 1964 to 1975 and was instrumental in the development of the portable home electric drill and the portable drill. A graduate of Cornell University, he was awarded an honorary degree from Johns Hopkins in 1986. Starting in the early 1970s, he and Virginia Decker contributed millions of dollars in support of programs on the Homewood campus, at the Peabody Institute and at Johns Hopkins Medicine. More than $7 million in proceeds from the sale of Alonzo Decker's final gift, a bequest of the couple's home and farm property on the Sassafras River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, will help fund construction of Decker Quadrangle.

That gift counts toward the $2 billion Johns Hopkins: Knowledge for the World fund-raising campaign, which began in July 2000 and is scheduled to end in 2007. Commitments to the campaign now total more than $1.81 billion, more than 90 percent of the goal. (See story, "Campaign on track to $2 billion," in this issue.)

For more details on the project, go to


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