LeConte Hall is named for two of the most successful and nationally prominent educators ever produced by the University of Georgia.
John and Joseph LeConte were sons of Louis LeConte, internationally known botanist, part of the illustrious family who made many contributions in the advance of science in America.
They were born and grew up in Liberty County, Georgia near Savannah and were among four LeConte brothers who graduated from the University of Georgia. They later served on the faculty and became involved in controversies that led them to leave their alma mater.
John graduated from UGA in 1938 and from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1841. He practiced medicine in Savannah until he joined the faculty at the University in1846. He taught nine years and resigned in 1855 after a disagreement with UGA President Alonzo Church.
He then lectured at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York for two years before joining the faculty of South Carolina College in Columbia which became the University of South Carolina.
In 1869, he became the first professor at the newly opened University of California in Berkeley and served as acting president in 1869 and as president from 1876 to 1881. He was a charter member of the Sierra Club.
John’s younger brother, Joseph, followed in his brother’s footsteps to UGA and the College of P & S in New York and later joined him on the faculty at the University after teaching at Oglethorpe University. He also served on the faculty at South Carolina College and later at the University of California Joseph graduated from UGA in 1841 and served on the faculty from 1852-57.
A small classroom building was erected in 1905 to house the department of Biology and named for the LeConte brothers. It was later destroyed by fire and the present commodious LeConte Hall on north campus was completed in 1939 and named for the LeConte brothers – two of UGA’s most famous alumni.