Dean Larry Hyde
Remembering Dean Larry Hyde

Judge Laurance M. "Larry" Hyde

Judge Laurance M. “Larry” Hyde, the dean who established The National Judicial College on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, has died at age 94.

Judge Hyde was serving as a Circuit Court judge in St. Louis in 1964 when he enrolled in the inaugural class of what was then called the National College of State Trial Judges. The College had been founded in 1963 and held its first sessions in Boulder, Colorado, in 1964 and 1965.

The College’s first dean, law professor Ernest Friesen, left in 1965 to become an assistant deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department. Judge Frank J. Murray served as interim dean for a month before Judge Hyde was appointed permanent dean.

The College relocated to the University of Nevada, Reno with support from the Max C. Fleischmann Foundation. Judge Hyde would lead the College from 1965 to 1974. In 1971 the College finally attained its own dedicated facility on the UNR campus with construction of the Judicial College Building.

In 1975, Judge Hyde was named the first dean of the Nova University Center for the Study of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (now Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center).

He returned to the NJC in 1987 as associate dean and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1991. His last service on the faculty came in 1994 when he taught in a program for Costa Rican judges.

Judge Hyde’s widow, Carol Mousel, said her husband was very proud of his part in helping establish the College. He and his first wife, Nancy, were married from 1949 until her death in 2003.  They had two children. He and Ms. Mousel married in 2005. After his retirement from the NJC, Judge Hyde continued to live in Reno until his passing on April 25th of this year following a long illness.

Judge Hyde specialized in teaching about ethics and criminal law. Ms. Mousel said one of her husband’s ideas as dean was to have inmates from the state prison in Carson City brought to campus to meet the course participants. Some of the judges doubted that the visitors were actually inmates. They suspected that the dean had hired college students to act as prisoners. But the next day he took them to the prison and they saw the same people they’d been talking with the day before.

Judge Hyde’s father, Laurance Mastick Hyde Sr., was a justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri from 1943 to 1966 and served as chief justice from 1949 to 1951 and 1960 to 1962. He was also the first president of the national Conference of Chief Justices.

The senior Hyde was a Republican and so was his son – for the first part of his life. His daughter, Anne Hyde, a history professor at the University of Oklahoma, wrote in her father’s obituary that his perspective changed when he went on the bench.

“Because in his courtroom every day he saw people held down by unfair legal and education systems, Larry, the life-long Republican became Larry, the life-long Democrat.”

NJC News