Charles E. English enrolled at the University of Kentucky as a freshman in the Fall of 1953. He participated in rush and was initiated into Beta Nu in early 1954. At the time, Beta Nu occupied a white brick, two-story residence with a basement on South Broadway in Lexington. They moved into the new house on Hilltop Avenue later in 1954. Charles was one of the original occupants of the new house along with pledge brothers, Jerry Nichols, Wendell Cherry, and others.
Charles was elected Grand Master of Beta Nu in the Spring of 1955 and served until he started law school in the Fall of 1956. English was involved on campus; serving as President of the Inter-Fraternity Council, member of the University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team (National Champions 1954, Runner-up 1955), Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Honorary, Member Lances Jr. Honorary 1955, President of Lamp and Cross Senior Men’s Honorary 1956, Scabbard and Blade ROTC Honorary, Patterson Literary Society, Speech Honorary and others.
In law school, Charles was a member of the Moot Court Team that participated in the National Semi-Finals in New York. As well as a member of the Kentucky Law Journal Staff.
Charles graduated from the College of Commerce in 1957 with a combined B.S. degree in Accounting and Pre-Law. He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army upon graduation. After finishing his active duty in the United States Army, Charles returned to the University of Kentucky College of Law to receive his JD degree in 1960. While in law school he also worked on an MBA in College Business Management and Institutional Accounting.
Upon passing the Kentucky Bar in 1960, Charles accepted a position with a small firm in Bowling Green, Kentucky and a teaching position at Western Kentucky University. After some twelve years of private practice, Charles along with three other lawyers on January 1, 1973 formed English, Lucas, Priest, & Owsley (ELPO) as a general law firm in Bowling Green. ELPO is a law firm of about thirty lawyers recognized throughout the state and is a civil practice law firm practicing primarily in business matters but also having an extensive litigation, personal injury, banking, educational, tax and estate practice.
Charles has also been elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a lifetime member of the Judicial Conference of the United States Sixth Circuit of Appeals. Charles served as a member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors from 2009 to 2012, serving as a chair of the finance committee during a tumultuous time. His work in Kentucky establishing and serving as President of Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company for over fifteen years, provided the basis to assist the ABA with professional liability matters. He served on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability from 1990 to 1992, and as a Special Member from 2006 to 2012.
Among his most important roles with the ABA was serving two, three-year terms on the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary of the American Bar Association, from 1994 to 2000. This committee evaluates the professional qualifications of all nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States, circuit of appeals, district courts and the Court of International Trade, giving hundreds of hours per year to this extensive process. Nearly 340 judges were appointed during this time to these courts, including Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
Charles served as a member of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Board of Governors from 1979 to 1987 and served as President from 1985 to 1986. He also serves from time to time as a Special Judge on the Kentucky Supreme Court. He served for over twelve years on the Kentucky Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Committee, and is also a member of Kentucky’s Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee.
Charles’ work has not gone unnoticed. He received the Kentucky Bar Association’s Outstanding Lawyer Award in 1999. He was named to the University of Kentucky College of Law Hall of Fame in 2004, and he is currently serving on the College of Law’s Visiting Committee, which advises the Law School dean.
Charles met his wife of over 63 years, Barbara King, a Delta Delta Delta, while at Beta Nu. Charles and Barbara have three children, Lisa Hinkle, Charles E. English, Jr. and David English. Two of his children are attorneys and two of his six granddaughters are attorneys. His son, Charles E. English Jr. (Buzz) , also practices law at ELPO and has served as President of the Kentucky Bar Association
Kappa Sigma played an important role in Charles’ social, educational, and professional development. He came to the University of Kentucky as a naïve farm boy, and Beta Nu gave him an opportunity to gain social exposure and establish lifelong friendships. One of his law partners of over 40 years is Brother Whayne C. Priest Jr. Whayne pledged Beta Nu while Charles served as Grand Mater. Other brothers at Beta Nu who are attorneys and lifelong friends include Wendell Cherry, Wayne Carroll, George Shadoan, Buzzy Nave, E. David Marshall, and Judge William Shadoan.
Charles is sincerely honored to be considered for this recognition.