Submissions for The Maurice R. Hilleman essay contest are now closed. Please check back for an announcement about the winners in the fall!

Hilleman 100 logo

How would the world be different if Dr. Hilleman had not lived the life he did?

Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman was a virologist who developed more than half of the vaccines that young children receive today. His work is credited with saving 8 million lives every year, yet most people have not heard of him. Dr. Hilleman was born 100 years ago in Montana.

To celebrate his life and accomplishments, the Vaccine Makers Project of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia held an essay contest for students in grades 6 to 12. Submissions are no longer being accepted.


Students in grades 6 to 12 living in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories and enrolled in a public, private, cyber, religious or charter school or who attend a home school program in the United States can participate. (Judging will take into consideration author’s age.)


Learn about Dr. Hilleman’s accomplishments, and then write a 500-600 word essay that answers the question, “How would the world be different if Dr. Hilleman had not lived the life he did?” Essay should be written in English using complete sentences and appropriate grammar. One entry per person. See "Official Rules" at for complete details.

3 Winners will each receive:

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • Trip for student winner and one (1) adult chaperone to Philadelphia from September 18-20, 2019.

Trip includes:

  • Roundtrip transportation to Philadelphia*
  • Hotel room for each winner and chaperone to share for two nights in Philadelphia*
  • Tour of labs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute and breakfast with CHOP scientist
  • Two (2) tickets to the Franklin Institute
  • Two (2) Philadelphia City Passes to see 3 attractions
  • Dinner with Hilleman Film movie production team
  • Attendance at “Memories of Maurice” evening reception where winners will share winning essays and receive their awards

Approximate value of prize: $2,500
*Transportation and accommodations coordinated through Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Completed entries were due by June 7, 2019 or postmarked by June 7 if mailed. 


Teacher named in winning students’ entries will receive a signed copy of Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases, Dr. Hilleman’s biography written by Paul A. Offit, MD.