Charles E. Ares, the hometown boy whose rise from bucolic beginnings to become the law school dean who transformed Arizona Law, died last week at his home in Tucson at the age of 93. His wife, Jean, and four children survive him.

Charles embodies the great American success story. 
Born and raised in Southern Arizona, Charles graduated from Tucson High School and joined the U.S. Navy at seventeen.

At twenty, he enrolled at the University of Arizona and majored in political science, then entered the College of Law in 1949. He graduated in 1952, having earned top marks, the admiration of his teachers, and local news acclaim for representing Arizona in the 1951 National Trial Team Competition in New York City.

Charles Ares is pictured front row, center -- with a bow tie of course -- as a member of the Student Bar Association.

After graduation, Charles served as a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in 1952-1953, and recalled 'sneaking' into the gallery to watch Thurgood Marshall argue in Brown v. Board of Education
Returning to Tucson, he established a private practice in Tucson, also serving as a deputy county attorney. 

In those early professional years, Charles practiced with legendary partners Mo Udall ('49) and Stewart Udall ('48). The close-knit Tucson legal community included other distinguished alumni such as S. Thomas Chandler ('46), Raul H. Castro ('49), and Stanley Feldman ('56). 

As graduates of the state's only law school during a time of rapid growth in Arizona, Charles and his colleagues expanded the legal infrastructure and were prominent in the development of civic and cultural life.

In 1961, Charles and family moved east for a position at New York University School of Law, where they remained until 1966 when Charles was named Dean of the College of Law at the UA.
His seven-year deanship was transformative, and the blueprint from those years remains fully visible to this day. 

Dean Ares recruited a cadre of young, energetic scholars to build the College's academic reputation. He created and expanded practice opportunities for students. He outpaced many of the nation's law schools in diversifying the student body, admitting more women and students of color, and championed a more diverse profession with law firms and other employers.

Charles, Jean, and their children Ron, Nancy, Amy, and Marna in 1966.

Then a student, J. Michael Hennigan ('70) remembers the feeling well:

"The class of 1970 was the first admitted under Dean Ares. When we arrived on campus, we had no idea that he had just transformed the school.  It was a new world.  We were a much smaller class than those that preceded us.  The faculty was now dominated by young, mostly first-time professors, all recruited by Dean Ares. Within days there was an excitement that started in the classrooms and moved to the halls and benches around the school. When questions were asked in class, there were typically no "right" answers. Creative insights were welcome. The professors became our colleagues and our advisors. Art Andrews, Woody Woods, Dave Wexler, Junius Hoffman, Rex Lee, and of course Dean Ares were among them. For most of us I believe the excitement and challenges have lasted a lifetime. Thank you Charles Ares. You are my hero."

Charles returned to the full-time faculty in 1973 but remained a central figure at the College, helping to guide the institution that he nurtured to national standing.  

Dean Ares addressing new law students during 2014 orientation.

The Ares' legacy remains strong on our campus, with the Ares Fellows Writing Program, the Charles E. Ares Professorship, and the Charles and Jean Ares Scholarship, created in 2017 by "their friends, family, admirers and colleagues."  
Among the legions of those whose lives he shaped were my fellow deans and college leaders.

Charles was an extremely sharp and perceptive observer of supreme courts and constitutional law, whether the issues or opinions came from the Supreme Court of the United States or the Arizona Supreme Court. 
He was also a perceptive observer of his law school over the past 71 years.
Charles was an invaluable counselor, to me, and all the deans and others who have tried to follow in footsteps.

Seventy-one years of study and leadership produces profound perspective and insight. He would share that perspective, sometimes with a single probing question. Yet he was utterly open to -- and a fan of -- new colleagues and new ideas. 
I have never met anyone so completely invested in a college -- so completely committed to its history, yet so completely unbiased and zen in watching it grow and change.

Jean and Charles Ares joined me in greeting alumni 
at class reunions in 2015.

He also enjoyed spending time with the Class of 1969 at their class reunion in 2019.

We look forward to remembering Charles with you and his family in person when we are able.
Meanwhile, you are welcome to share your memories online HERE and send condolences to The Ares Family, c/o Megan O'Leary, University of Arizona, College of Law, 1201 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, Arizona, 85721-0176.

In 2011, our alumnus Dale Danneman ('74) sat down with Charles for three days of interviews, which were later transcribed, published and gifted to the College. I look forward to re-reading his unfailingly modest and thoughtful words. 

We are also fortunate to share his words from the Arizona State Bar Foundation's Legends Behind the Law project and our own celebration of his legacy from a few years ago.


I encourage you to read, listen, and watch about the path of the farmboy from Marana, whose passion for the law led to a lifetime of serving the community he so deeply loved.


Other members of our law school faculty who knew Charles as a colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend share their memories of Charles:

"No law school owes as much to one dean or colleague as we do to Charles Ares. He  served with  incomparable integrity, wisdom, modesty, courage, and selfless -- peerless -- fidelity. His sense of justice was our beacon. We are beyond grateful to him -- and to Jean  and the Ares family -- for their enduring gift to us all. May they be comforted by this: the Ares legacy thus will live on, even as we all make our unsteady way beyond the time when we could be with him in person, hear him, laugh with him (Charles had a marvelous sense of humor), and be inspired by him." 
Toni Massaro
Regents Professor, Milton O. Riepe Chair 
in Constitutional Law, and Dean Emerita

At the 2015 College of Law Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony, 
l-r: Professor Barbara Atwood, Dean Roger Henderson, Dean Toni Massaro, and Dean Ares.

"I remember the first instance, almost like it was yesterday, that I saw Charles Ares. It was my first law school class, and his first as dean, and we were all waiting anxiously for Dean Ares to enter the classroom.  All of sudden, the door swung open and running down the stairs to the podium was Dean Ares. I remember thinking to myself, 'What an energetic and enthusiastic person.' And those feelings, as well as many others, never stopped concerning Charles, my teacher, mentor and colleague."
Andy Silverman ('69),
Joseph M. Livermore Professor Emeritus of Law
"Charles Ares was a brilliant and demanding teacher, a wise mentor, a generous colleague, a beloved friend.  Even though I was terrified in his classes when I was a law student, I took every course he taught. But beyond law, Charles and Jean together will always be role models in the way they've approached life with absolute grace and compassion."
Barbara Atwood ('76), 
Mary Anne Richey Professor Emerita of Law 

Speaking with law students in 2015.

"The success that the Law College certainly enjoys today is in large part attributable to the unique qualities Charles Ares brought to bear during his deanship and subsequent role on the faculty over the half-century he was associated with the educational enterprise. His guiding hand and intellectual influence will be sorely missed."

Roger Henderson,
Ralph W. Bilby Professor Emeritus of Law and Dean Emeritus

The College of Law has created a memorial page to celebrate the life of Dean Charles Ares. Collecting your stories and memories here will offer us a wonderful way to remember and honor him. 

In addition, all donations made through this page will go to the Charles & Jean Ares Scholarship Endowment at the College of Law.  
You may also donate to the Ares Scholarship Endowment via the main College of Law giving page or send contributions to: Megan O'Leary, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, 1201 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ, 85721-0176.

Thank you for supporting scholarships in honor of Dean Ares.


We miss Charles.
Fortunately we know that when we return to our building -- to his law school -- he will be there.

Mary Anne Richey ('51) and Charles Ares are part of the heritage display in the College of Law's
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Lobby.

We will see his picture. Every new student, staff, and faculty member, and every visitor, will read about the highlights of his career. 
And when they ask, they will hear us tell about this very special man whose character, and charisma, infuses who we are. 
And always will.




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