CWRU School of Law mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus Calvin Sharpe

Photo of red, pink and purple flowers growing in a green field

The Case Western Reserve University School of Law community mourns the passing of retired law professor Calvin Sharpe, who died May 12, 2024 in Arizona after a long illness.

Sharpe was the Galen J. Roush Professor Emeritus of Law; before holding the Roush Chair, he was the John Deaver Drinko-BakerHostetler Professor of Law. He also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. For 30 years, he was an admired teacher and treasured colleague.

Sharpe graduated with his BA from Clark University (1967), his JD from Northwestern (1974), and his M.A. from Chicago Theological Seminary (1996). He began his legal career as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Hubert L. Will (Northern District, Illinois). He then practiced law in Chicago, spent four years as a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, and began his teaching career in Virginia. He joined the CWRU Faculty of Law in 1984, where he taught Evidence, Trial Tactics, Alternative Dispute Resolution and courses in labor and employment law. While most professors have a single area of expertise, he published extensively in all four areas.

Sharpe also served as founding Director of Case Western’s Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Conflict and Dispute Resolution. He organized symposia and programs of study that focused the tools of psychology, sociology, anthropology, biology, philosophy, medicine, economics and religion on the issue of how to better teach lawyers and nations to resolve disputes without violence, conflict or destructive litigation.

Outside of the classroom, Sharpe became one of the nation’s most sought-after and trusted arbitrators, being selected to handle disputes in major industries, the public sector and the sports industry—including the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.

Described by colleagues as “a thought leader, true mentor, [and an] institutional trailblazer,” when Sharpe retired from the Law School in 2013, the Case Western Reserve Law Review published a special volume dedicated to his impactful legal and academic career with tributes written by Laura Cooper, Jonathan Entin, Douglas Ray, Robert Strassfeld and Samuel Thompson

His former students and colleagues will miss him terribly. Condolences can be mailed to his daughter: Adrienne Jones, 950 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306.