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Aycock at the announcement of Martin Brinkley being named the dean of Carolina Law. (2015)
Aycock at the announcement of Martin Brinkley being named the dean of Carolina Law. (2015)

Welcome to the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library’s digital library in remembrance of William Brantley Aycock. Aycock served as Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1957 to 1964, and as a member of the Carolina Law faculty from 1948 to 1985. This digital collection contains photos, speeches, tributes, articles, videos, and interviews.

About William B. Aycock

William B. Aycock was born on October 26, 1915 in Lucama, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina State University, graduating with a major in education. Aycock earned a master’s degree in history from UNC. Aycock briefly worked as a public school teacher before serving in the Army during World War II. He reached the rank of colonel and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and the Legion of Merit.

Aycock during his time as chancellor, 1957 - 1964.
Aycock during his time as chancellor, 1957 – 1964.

After the war, Aycock attended UNC School of Law, graduating in 1948. He finished first in his class and was the editor in chief of the North Carolina Law Review. After graduating, he became a member of the UNC Law faculty.  In 1951, he was appointed Special Assistant to Dr. Frank Porter Graham as Graham led the United Nations Mission to India and Pakistan.

In 1957, Aycock was appointed Chancellor, and he remained in that position until 1964. Aycock recognized the university’s role as essential to democracy and worthy of protection. He asserted that the “[e]ducation of our citizens to keep and to enrich our Republic is not just the chosen but the only way,”[1]  and that the university’s commitment to education was “a precious heritage for all members of the University family to defend, utilize and transmit to our successors.”[2]

Following the completion of his term as Chancellor, Aycock returned to the law school, where he taught until his retirement in 1985.  Aycock was known by his colleagues and his students as both a talented legal scholar and a beloved teacher.[3] Kenneth Broun, former dean of the law school and professor emeritus, observed that Aycock was “the ideal faculty member. He has achieved superiority in teaching, in scholarship and in public service.”[4]  Aycock died on June 20, 2015, at 99 years old.

For additional information regarding William B. Aycock, the law library welcomes you to explore this digital collection. Articles about Chancellor Aycock and his service to the university are linked below:

[1] William B. Aycock, The Role of Education in the Exercise of Citizenship at the Johnston County Forum (Jan. 14, 1988).

[2] William B. Aycock, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Time of Danger and Hope, Speech to Welcome New Students (Sept. 15, 1962).

[3] Henry Brandis, Jr., Graham Kenan Professor Emeritus and dean emeritus of the UNC School of Law, reflected that Aycock was “selected again and again by the students as outstanding in the classroom and recognized by his colleagues as an outstanding scholar . . . .” Henry Brandis, Jr., William Brantley Aycock: There are So Many of Him, 64 N.C. L. Rev. 211 (1986).

[4] Kenneth S. Broun, Tribute to William Brantley Aycock: Foreword, 64 N.C. L. Rev. 205 (1986).

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