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William Brantley Aycock

William Brantley Aycock

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William Brantley Aycock (born October 24, 1915) is an American educator who served as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

 from 1957 until 1964 and is the retired Kenan Professor of Law at the UNC School of Law.

A native of Lucama, North Carolina
Lucama, North Carolina
Lucama is a town in Wilson County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 847 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Lucama is located at ....

, Aycock served the University of North Carolina for nearly 40 years from his first faculty appointment in the School of Law in 1948 to his retirement as Kenan professor in 1985. He was named chancellor in 1957 and led the university in that capacity until 1964.

A 1948 graduate of the UNC School of Law, Aycock was first in his class and editor-in-chief of the North Carolina Law Review
North Carolina Law Review
The North Carolina Law Review is the law journal of the University of North Carolina School of Law. It was established in 1922 and is published in six issues each year, with issue 5 devoted to its annual symposium and issue 6 designated as a special review of North Carolina and Fourth Circuit law...

. He also holds a master’s degree in history from UNC, and a bachelor’s degree in education from North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University at Raleigh is a public, coeducational, extensive research university located in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. Commonly known as NC State, the university is part of the University of North Carolina system and is a land, sea, and space grant institution...

 where he was president of the student body and a member of Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau is a U.S. national collegiate fraternity.-History:Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity was founded in the Union Literary Society Hall of Miami University's Old Main Building in Oxford, Ohio on March 17, 1906...

 fraternity. Prior to entering law school, he served in the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and attained the rank of colonel. He was awarded the Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

, the Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

 and the Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...


Throughout his academic career, Aycock received many honors and awards. He was the first recipient of the UNC School of Law's McCall Teaching Award, and eventually received it a total of five times. He was an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa and a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He received the Thomas Jefferson Award from UNC, the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Lifetime Achievement Award from the UNC Law Alumni Association, the William R. Davie Award from the UNC Board of Trustees, the University Award from the UNC Board of Governors, and the Liberty Bell Award from the North Carolina Bar Association.

In 1990, as a tribute to his chancellorship, the department of family medicine’s building was named for Aycock. This honor was in keeping with his long-standing interest in the field of medicine, and his support of family medicine as a way to address the health-care needs of North Carolina's rural citizens. The William B. Aycock professorship in his name was established by his many friends and is held as an endowment at the Medical Foundation of North Carolina, Inc.

Aycock is a cousin of North Carolina Governor Charles Brantley Aycock
Charles Brantley Aycock
Charles Brantley Aycock was the 50th Governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1901 to 1905. During his tenure as governor, he was an advocate for the improvement of the state's public school systems, and following his term in office, he traveled the country promoting educational...

 and is best known to sports fans as the man who hired legendary basketball coach Dean Smith
Dean Smith
Dean Edwards Smith is a retired American head coach of men's college basketball. Originally from Emporia, Kansas, Smith has been called a “coaching legend” by the Basketball Hall of Fame. Smith is best known for his successful 36-year coaching tenure at the University of North Carolina at Chapel...

. He forced Frank McGuire
Frank McGuire
Frank Joseph McGuire was an American athletic coach who gained his greatest renown in collegiate basketball....

 to resign due to a litany of recruiting violations at the end of the 1960-61 season. When Aycock hired Smith, he told the 30-year-old coach that wins and losses did not count as much as running a clean program and representing the university well. This charge is somewhat ironic, as Smith led the Tar Heels to 879 wins over 36 years.

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