Monrad Gotke Paulsen


Monrad Gotke Paulsen



Monrad Gotke Paulsen was born on June 1, 1918 in Clinton, Iowa. He attended the University of Chicago, receiving his A.B. in 1940 and his J.D. in 1942. He practiced law in Chicago, and then began his teaching career at the University of Utah. In 1947, he joined the faculty of Indiana University, Bloomington, where he would stay until 1951. He left Bloomington to teach at the University of Minnesota, and in 1956, he joined the faculty of Columbia University. In 1968, he became the first outside dean at the University of Virginia.

In 1975, Yeshiva University in New York decided to establish a new law school, named for former U.S. Supreme Court justice Benjamin N. Cardozo. Yeshiva asked Dean Paulsen to become the founding dean for the new law school. Classes began in September 1976, with the publication In the Spirit of Cardozo: The Founding of the Law School saying “On the School’s first day, he stood watch in the lobby, nervously waiting for students to show up.” The publication goes on to describe Dean Paulsen as “Charming, gregarious, lovable, and brilliant are among the adjectives used to describe the founding dean.” Paulsen was Cardozo’s “Great Dane,” which was “a word play on Paulsen’s outsized physique, lofty professional stature, and Nordic roots.” Former Yeshiva University President Norman Lamm said that Paulsen “was an elder in the Lutheran Church and a man with very broad vision who understood the relation of a great law school to a great Jewish university.”

Monrad Paulsen died in New York City on November 2, 1980. Glowing tributes appeared in both the Virginia Law Journal and the Cardozo Law Review, and Cardozo established the Monrad Paulsen Scholarship. The School’s website states: “The Monrad Paulsen Scholarship, named after Cardozo’s esteemed first dean, is the most prestigious and highly selective scholarship at Cardozo. It offers guaranteed three-year full-tuition awards to entering students with exemplary academic credentials who are nominated by the Admissions Committee.”


Indiana University Maurer School of Law Faculty, Columbia University Faculty, University of Virginia Law School Dean, Yeshiva University Cardozo School of Law Dean


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Download New York Times obituary, 11/6/1980 (18 KB)

Monrad Gotke Paulsen