Dr. Charles Knerr, Associate Professor of Political Science at UT Arlington, passed away earlier this month. Memorial services were held January 8 in Arlington.
Dr. Knerr began teaching at UT Arlington in 1976 and served as assistant chair of the Department of Political Science during the mid-1990s. He was a co-founder of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA) and faculty advisor for the UTA Moot Court group since its inception in 1996.
ACMA president Frank Guliuzza posted on the group’s website that Professor Knerr was instrumental in starting a national, intercollegiate moot court tournament and the organization to govern the annual event. “Those who participate in the ACMA owe a great debt to its founder,” Guliuzza wrote.
Dr. Knerr spent much of his time outside the classroom promoting moot court, speaking on the issue at more than a dozen pre-law and political science conferences over his 37-year teaching career. He also published several articles on the topic in various journals. His recent research focus included a look at the impact of repealing the 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution upon state and local government revenue, as well as case law pertaining to the 2nd Amendment, the 4th Amendment and military tribunals.
“Dr. Knerr was a gifted educator and scholar of public administration,” said Dr. Rebecca Deen, Associate Professor of Political Science and department chair. “The impact he made on countless students is immeasurable, not only in the classroom but also in organizations like the one he founded, Undergraduate Moot Court. He took the time to know people, to invest in students, to see each person with dignity and value.
“Though his passing leaves a void for our department, his legacy is strong. It exists in current students who discovered their voices through moot court and through his former students whose accomplishments are grounded on the foundation his mentoring provided.”
Dallas attorney Andrew Sommerman (’83) considered his former professor a “mentor and friend” and said Knerr was instrumental in helping him get an internship to a law firm and a new direction on life.
“He changed the course of the mighty river, no doubt,” Sommerman said. “Charlie was a true advocate of personalizing education and making sure students had an opportunity to try their chosen career before they entered or pursued it.”
Knerr served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966-1970 and worked for a year at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1977.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, a mother and a brother. Memorial donations can be made to the American Collegiate Moot Court Association, 3811 Turtle Creek #1400, Dallas, TX 75219, the Moot Court Scholarship in the University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Political Science, and UT Arlington’s Pre-Law Center Endowment.
[Written by James Dunning, COLA Communications.]