UNC School of Law Dean Jack Boger has tapped Professor Gene Nichol as director of the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity. The center was developed in 2005 to address the pressing needs of those currently living at or below the poverty level, to provide a non-partisan interdisciplinary forum to examine innovative and practical ideas to move more Americans out of poverty, to raise public awareness of issues related to work and poverty, and to train a new generation to combat the causes and effects of poverty and to improve the circumstances of working people.
Nichol succeeds Professor Marion Crain, who left the school in the summer of 2008 for a position on the law faculty at Washington University in St. Louis.
"Nichol is well suited to lead this center," said Dean Jack Boger. "He is a remarkable scholar and an energetic leader who cares deeply about issues of fairness and equality. I expect his leadership to fortify the center's efforts."
William Friday, president of the University of North Carolina system from 1956 to 1986, was delighted to learn of Nichol's appointment. "Gene is my longtime friend," said Friday, "and I am pleased to join him in this critical work for which he is fully prepared."
Nichol has written and taught extensively in the areas of constitutional law, federal courts, civil rights, economic injustice and election law. He has published in many of the nation's top law journals, including the
Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, University of Chicago Law Review,
Michigan Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, California Law Review, Duke Law Journal,
Virginia Law Review
and an array of leading legal journals. He has also published extensively in the popular press -- writing for
The Nation, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The News & Observer
The Denver-Rocky Mountain News.
"The Poverty Center has a talented and dedicated staff and an
ambitious multi-departmental advisory board comprised of scholars from throughout the University. They carry forward a mission of research and service to North Carolina and the nation that is central to this university," said Nichol. "I know that with the support of our advisory board and advocates and scholars across the campus and the country, we'll see the Center continue to address the needs of the poor - those living in poverty amidst plenty - and to work with those who are in the position to help create opportunity for them."
Nichol has held numerous leadership positions including dean of the UNC School of Law from 1999-2005. He then assumed the presidency of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He also served as law dean at the University of Colorado from 1988-1995 and the James Gould Cutler Professor and Director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary from 1985-1988. Nichol founded the Byron White Center of Constitutional Law at the University of Colorado (1990) and the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina (2001).
Nichol attended Oklahoma State University, where he received a degree in philosophy in 1973. He obtained his J.D. from the University of Texas, graduating Order of the Coif, in 1976.
-October 31, 2008