Gene R. Nichol

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Education

  • J.D. (Order of the Coif), University of Texas at Austin (1976)

Gene Nichol is Boyd Tinsley distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina. He was director of the UNC Poverty Center (2008-2015) until it was closed by the Board of Governors for publishing articles critical of the governor and General Assembly. Since 2015, his research has been supported by the N.C. Poverty Research Fund. Nichol was president of the College of William & Mary (2005-2008), law dean at the University of Colorado (1988-1995), and dean at UNC from 1999-2005.

Nichol is author of THE FACES OF POVERTY IN NORTH CAROLINA: Stories From Our Invisible Citizens (UNC Press, 2018) and FEDERAL COURTS (West, 2015, with Marshall & Wells). He’s published articles in the Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Duke, California, and Virginia law reviews. He has been a political columnist for the Rocky Mountain News and hosted a public affairs television show, Culture Wars, for KBDI in Denver. He’s been an columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer for fifteen years and writes frequently for The Progressive Populist. He has also written for The Nation and the Washington Post. He is executive producer of the documentary, “A Generation of Change: Bill Friday, Terry Sanford and North Carolina” (UNC-TV, 2016).

In 2003, Nichol received the ABA's Edward Finch Award for delivering the nation's best Law Day address. In 2004, he was named Carolina’s pro bono professor of the year. The next year, he was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor; and Equal Justice Works named him Pro Bono Dean of the year. In 2008, he received Oklahoma State University's Distinguished Alumnus Award; the "Courage to do Justice Award" from the National Employment Lawyers Association; and the Thomas Jefferson Award for defense of religious liberty from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. In 2013, the NC Council of Churches gave Nichol its Faith Active in Public Life Award; the NC-ACLU named him its W.W. Finlator Award winner; and UNC gave him its Thomas Jefferson Award – the university’s highest faculty honor. In 2014, he received the McCall Teaching Award from the UNC Law School and the University of Colorado’s Joanne Arnold award for courage in defense of civil liberty.  In 2018 Nichol was invited by the faculty of the University of Michigan to give the annual Davis, Markert, Nickerson Academic Freedom Lecture; earlier, he gave the keynote address at the conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright held by the Harvard Law School.      

Nichol attended Oklahoma State University, receiving a degree in philosophy and playing varsity football. He obtained his J.D. from the University of Texas, graduating Order of the Coif (1973).

 

Selected Publications

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UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility


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