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Alumnus Thomas A Keith honored by Carl Sandburg College

Alumnus Thomas A Keith honored by Carl Sandburg College

Carl Sandburg College honored the 2014 recipients of its Distinguished Alumnus Award and Outstanding Young Alumnus Award at the Alumni Awards Reception on Tuesday evening in the Student Center on the College’s Main Campus in Galesburg. Honorable Thomas A. Keith ’87 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

A circuit judge for the Illinois 10th Judicial Circuit, Keith earned his Associate in Arts from Sandburg after beginning his college education at age 35. Keith was married with three children, owned a farm and worked full-time as a construction electrician before making the life-changing decision to attend Sandburg. He went on to graduate from the University of Illinois in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree, double-majoring in English Literature and Expository Rhetoric, and he earned his law degree from Valparaiso University in 1992, graduating cum laude.

Keith served as a judicial law clerk for Chief U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm from 1992-1994, and afterward he spent nearly two decades as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. During that time, he organized the Central Illinois Cybercrime Unit, which was one of the first of its kind in the country, and has been involved in identifying, locating and rescuing dozens of exploited and missing children.

In 2010, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys appointed him as the National Coordinator for Cybercrime, National Coordinator for Project Safe Childhood and National Coordinator for Intellectual Property. In March 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Keith to fill the term of the retired Stuart P. Borden as circuit judge for the Illinois 10th Judicial Circuit, which includes Marshall, Peoria, Putnam, Stark and Tazewell counties.

Keith also volunteers his time as a board member the Central Illinois Radio Fellowship, and he’s served as a Tremont Village Trustee and board member for Peoria Rescue Ministries. He’s also been involved with the Boy Scouts of America, Tremont Zoning Board, Tremont Planning Commission, Tremont Education Foundation, Tremont Turkey Festival and Tremont Eastside Development Committee.

“Had I not gone through Carl Sandburg, I wouldn’t be where I am today. This was a proving ground for me. I had a farm, three children and a wife, and I wasn’t going to leave that farm, three children and wife to go to the University of Illinois unless I knew I could make it there,” Keith said. “When I came to Carl Sandburg, I came here with a strong faith, with great support and with a great work ethic, and I left here with a set of skills that carried me through the rest of my education.”

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