Coleman Karesh was born in Newburg, New York, to Rabbi David Karesh and Lena Mishkoff Karesh. He later married Alice Freed Karesh with whom he had four daughters.
He graduated from the University of South Carolina, receiving an A.B. degree in 1923 and an LL.B. degree in 1925. He practiced law in Columbia for twelve years with Senator James H. Hammond.
In 1937, he joined the law faculty of the University of South Carolina and taught until his retirement in 1972. Karesh was the first recipient of the Russell Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1957. Upon his retirement, the University of South Carolina School of Law’s library was named the Coleman Karesh Library, recognizing his long and brilliant career in teaching. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Delta, the American Law Institute, and was, for many years, the State of South Carolina’s Commissioner on Uniform State Laws.
A master teacher, his scholarship was precise and profound, his teaching blended wit with wisdom. Long after graduation, his students, judges and lawyers alike, constantly sought his counsel. No man in his generation had as much influence on the State of South Carolina’s Bench and Bar. He lives in the hearts of those who felt his reverence for the law and loyalty to its principles.
Painted by Robert Oliver Skemp in 1972.
Located in the Reading Room.