In 1949 Professor Richard Parker, considered a leading Egyptologist of his day, came to Brown University as the first Charles Edwin Wilbour Professor of Egyptology at the behest of then-President Wriston to open the Department of Egyptology. He focused the department on research and graduate study.
A graduate of Dartmouth College (BA) and the University of Chicago (PhD), Dr. Parker was described as 'a warm and friendly man with a keen sense of humor'. The continued existence of the lovely Victorian style Wilbour Hall is largely credited to Professor Parker's and his colleague Professor Otto Neugebauer's insistence on maintaining that site.
Professor Parker, who passed away in 1993, retired from Brown in 1972 after having made major contributions in various aspects of the field, including Demotic studies, astronomical texts and the Egyptian calendar.