Hammer named inaugural Taubman chair at Wayne Law


Professor Peter J. Hammer, director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School, has been named the Law School’s inaugural A. Alfred Taubman Endowed Chair.

Hammer, who joined the Law School faculty in 2003, is a leading voice on economic and social issues impacting Detroit and the nation. He has spent more than 25 years engaging in matters of human rights law and development in Cambodia. Hammer is an expert on domestic health law and policy, as well as international public health and economic development. He was instrumental in editing and compiling Judge Damon J. Keith’s biography, “Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith.”

The $1.5 million endowed chair is part of a $3 million gift from the late A. Alfred Taubman in 2006 that led to the construction of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights building at Wayne Law. Taubman, who died in 2015, was a longtime friend of Keith and a renowned entrepreneur and developer.

“We are very grateful for Mr. Taubman and the entire Taubman family for their support and generosity,” said Dean Richard A. Bierschbach. “Through this new appointment, Professor Hammer and the Law School will honor and celebrate Mr. Taubman’s legacy for years to come.”

The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights honors the life and legacy of its namesake by carrying out Keith’s vision for civil rights. The center is home to the Detroit Equity Action Lab, known in the community as DEAL, which promotes racial equity and justice by bringing together a multi-racial, intergenerational group of leaders and innovators to address issues of structural racism in the greater Detroit area. Since its establishment in 2014, DEAL has convened three cohorts, creating a network of more than 80 individuals representing 75 organizations that deploy diverse methods to end structural racism.