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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Maurice Taylor Van Hecke (1892-1963)

In 1961, the university created the Thomas Jefferson Award to honor faculty members who through their teaching, research, and public service best exemplified the ideals of the third U.S. president. The first recipient was law professor Maurice Van Hecke. Born in Wisconsin and educated at Beloit College and the University of Chicago, Van Hecke came to Carolina to teach in 1921. He was appointed dean of the law school in 1931 and served until 1941, when President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him to a commission charged with reforming civil service. He worked for President Harry Truman as the head of a special commission on immigration and on a committee to recommend changes in the Taft-Hartley Labor Law. In 1954, he was elected president of the Association of American Law Schools. The law school named the law school building for him in 1968.