A brief biography of J. Dolores and Alfred P. Maurice

The late Alfred “Fred” Maurice’s curiosity and desire to see students succeed inspired him to establish a challenge prize for Western Oregon University students.

A WOU benefactor and honorary faculty member, he created the J. Dolores and Alfred P. Maurice Endowed Challenge Prize, a challenge for undergraduates who complete a year-long project in quest for a $5,000 prize.

Since the first prize was awarded in 2011, dozens of students have challenged themselves to define a problem, then create and find a solution. The winning students’ projects have included finding solutions to transportation, housing, unrepresented students and food waste.


He was born on March 11, 1921 in Nashua, N.H., and he died on Feb. 25, 2019 in Monmouth, Ore.

His multi-faceted career includes:

  • Illustrator-draftsman for the U.S. Army during World War II
  • Director at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore and Kalamazoo Institute of Art in Michigan
  • Taught at Macalester College, State University of New York and University of Illinois at Chicago. He retired as a professor emeritus.
  • Honorary faculty member at Western Oregon University

J. Dolores Maurice (née Robson), his wife was born in Detroit, MI on June 8, 1924. She died on Nov. 27, 2007. She was a librarian, and she helped her husband in all his work. They were married for 61 years.

With the death of his wife and having no children or other immediate family, Maurice decided to dedicate his estate to the enhancement and enrichment of the education of undergraduate college students.

During a chance meeting with then Western Oregon University President John P. Minahan, Maurice discovered they had mutual interests, which resulted in Maurice moving to Monmouth in 2010. An honorary WOU faculty member, Maurice worked with the university and the WOU Foundation to create the J. Dolores and Alfred P. Maurice Endowed Challenge Prize, a contest for undergraduates who complete in a year-long project in quest for a $5,000 prize.  Maurice left thousands of pieces of his artwork and art collection to WOU to be sold to fund the prize in the future.


Read more about Alfred and his art

Profile by the Statesman Journal

Art is a Verb exhibition

Polk County Itemizer Observer article on the Maurice Prize