Thomas Martin Franck

Class of 1953

Professor Thomas Martin Franck (‘53), a well-known expert in international law,passed away on May 27, 2009, in his Manhattan home after battling cancer. Professor Franck received his LL.B. from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law in 1953. He went on to study at Harvard, where he earned a master’s of law degree in 1954 and a doctorate of juridical science in 1959. He joined the New York University School of Law Faculty in 1960, where he remained on Faculty and as the Director of the Center for International Studies until his retirement in 2002.

In addition to his scholarly and teaching activities, he also acted as legal adviser or counsel to several foreign governments, acted as an advocate before the International Court of Justice, served for 6 years as Director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s International Law Program, and was for two years Director of Research at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. Professor Franck is past President of the American Society of International Law and served as editor-in-chief of The American Journal of International Law between1984-1993. 

“Professor Franckis widely recognized as one of the world’s most productive and influential scholars of international law in recent times. He authored over22 books and countless articles that have shaped the field andacted as a respected adviser to numerous international conferences,” said Dr. Natasha Affolder, Assistant Professor at UBC Faculty of Law. 

“Moreover, heserved asan ‘intellectual beacon’for generations of students and scholars.UBC has lost an alumnus this week, and the world has lost a scholar, whose life and work significantly advanced both international law and human rights.This loss is already being felt around the world.”

In recognition of his many accomplishments, Franck received the Christopher Medal for Resignation in Protest, the Hudson Medal of the American Society of International Law and the Read Medal of the Canadian Council of International Law. He also received a Certificate of Merit for four of his books from The American Society of International Law, and was twice awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He also received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia, the Monterey Institute of International Studies and Glasgow University.

A sample of Professor Franck’s influential writings can be found on the website: