Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a trailblazing legal scholar, longtime Harvard Law professor and former visiting professor at STL, passed away on August 4, 2023, at the age of 70 in Odenton, Maryland.
Professor Ogletree left an indelible mark on the world of law and civil rights, and his connection with STL has been a cherished one. Professor Ogletree taught Criminal Law at STL during an early stage of the school’s development; the members of STL’s second law school class enrolled in the course. That course, together with time spent on campus by Professor Ogletree, had a lasting impact on STL students and faculty.
Founding Dean Jeffrey Lehman has reflected on the connection between Professor Ogletree and STL:
"STL is a special school in part because it is a magnet for special people. When Professor Ogletree taught at STL during 2010, he displayed an extraordinary combination of brilliance, kindness, and dedication to our students. I know that everyone who had the chance to spend time with him will always treasure the memory of those moments."
As a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Professor Ogletree’s expertise enriched STL’s academic landscape during his time with us. His deep knowledge of comparative criminal justice systems, public defender systems, and the intersection of race and criminal justice resonated with students, inspiring them to explore these fundamentally important areas of study.
Beyond his scholarly contributions, Professor Ogletree's mentorship was invaluable to many, including STL students who had the privilege of learning from him directly. His guidance and encouragement nurtured the intellectual growth and social consciousness of aspiring legal professionals at STL.
The US educational public television series “World on Trial” reflects an additional connection between Professor Ogletree and STL. In the series, Professor Ogletree served as lead attorney for women Muslim students challenging France’s restrictions on headscarves in public schools, while a group of STL students served as one of several sets of student juries around the world.
STL is deeply saddened by the loss of Professor Charles Ogletree. Our thoughts go to Professor Ogletree's family and loved ones. We honor his memory and the impact he has had on our institution. We will remember his teachings and spirit as we continue the pursuit of legal excellence and social advancement.