October 1, 2008
Charles Kelso was the youngest law professor in the country when he started teaching at the University of Indiana at age 22 in 1951. Fifty-seven years later, he’s still going strong at McGeorge as, perhaps, the oldest full-time law professor at an ABA-accredited law school.
Kelso recently celebrated his 80 th birthday and is on course to complete his sixth decade in legal education. “It feels very strange to have gone from the youngest [by four years] to one of the more mature members of academia,” Kelso says. “I say to myself; can this really be?”
A passion for teaching and learning keeps Kelso young. He carries a full course load, teaching Constitutional Law, American Legal History, and First Amendment Law this academic year. Outside of the classroom, he pursues his legal scholarship with his frequent co-author, son Randall who’s a professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. Not content to merely write for hard-copy law journals, last year they produced a 2,000-page treatise available exclusively online.
An Indiana native, Charles Kelso earned his J.D. at the University of Chicago in record time before serving as a law clerk to a Supreme Court justice. He was a member of the Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis faculty until 1976 when he was lured to Sacramento by Dean Gordon Schaber.
The rest is McGeorge history, but for Kelso there’s no rest. And that’s the way he likes it.