D'Agata named the M. F. Carpenter Professor in English

Sunday, April 9, 2017
Professor John D'Agata
Professor John D'Agata

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has named Professor of English John D’Agata the M. F. Carpenter Professor in English.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor D’Agata to the M. F. Carpenter Professorship,” said CLAS Dean Chaden Djalali. “He is very deserving of this recognition, as his creative and scholarly work have been essential to our university’s reputation as a national and international center for writing, and he has significantly advanced nonfiction writing as a discipline and art form.”

D’Agata, the director of Iowa’s top-ranked Nonfiction Writing Program, joined the faculty of the Department of English in 2005. He holds two Masters of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Iowa, in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and in nonfiction from the Nonfiction Writing Program, in addition to a BA degree from Hobart College.

He is the author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, and The Lifespan of a Fact, as well as the editor of the 3-volume series A New History of the Essay, which comprises the anthologies The Next American Essay, The Making of the American Essay, and The Lost Origins of the Essay. His work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, an NEA Literature Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and a grant from the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. D’Agata primarily teaches courses on the history of the essay, experiments in essaying, and a variety of creative writing workshops.

The Carpenter Professorship was established with funds donated to the University of Iowa Foundation by the late Millington F. Carpenter, who earned a doctoral degree in English from Iowa in 1924. Carpenter was for many years an English instructor in the University High School on the University of Iowa campus, and rose to associate professor and head of English at that school. In 1950, he began teaching literature in what was then known as the College of Liberal Arts, and retired in 1957. The Millington F. Carpenter Professorship in English was established in 1963; Carpenter died in 1967. 


The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 67 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students study each year in the College’s 39 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.