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Commencement

Honorees

Distinguished Alumni Awards

LeAnn K. Pedersen Pope ’79

LeAnn Pedersen PopeAfter an accomplished career as a Chicago attorney, LeAnn Pedersen Pope ’79 recently left the legal profession to dedicate more time to service and philanthropy. Driven by faith and the belief that all human beings have equal worth, she supports a variety of equity and inclusion initiatives.

Ms. Pedersen Pope serves as board chair for Opportunity International, which has provided microfinance loans, savings, insurance, and training to millions in the developing world. She assists former U.S. secretary of education Arne Duncan with Chicago CRED, which takes a holistic approach to reducing gun violence.

A generous Carthage donor, Ms. Pedersen Pope designated her most recent gifts for the Wiggan-Kenniebrew funds to support students of color. She also supports efforts by Legal Momentum, the Night Ministry, and the Anti-Cruelty Society.

For many years, Ms. Pedersen Pope worked as a defense lawyer in class action cases. Most recently, she was a partner with Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., in Chicago.

Ms. Pedersen Pope has a doctoral degree from John Marshall Law School and a bachelor’s in business administration and public management from Carthage, where she was a member of Pi Theta. She is pursuing a master’s in theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

She is married to Clyde Smith McGregor and has two children.

 

Tom Kieso ’73

Tom Kieso '73Tom Kieso ’73 is co-owner and vice president of the Wm. F. Meyer Co., a plumbing fixture distributor with 11 locations across the Chicago area. Starting as a pickup truck driver, he learned the family business from the ground up.

Together with a cousin, he bought the company from relatives in 1987. Reminding everyone to “be prepared and you won’t be scared,” Mr. Kieso helped steer Wm. F. Meyer safely through multiple recessions while competitors folded.

Carrying on the tradition of his community-minded parents, Mr. Kieso shares the three T’s: time, talent, and treasure. He has been an active trustee of the College since 2005 and previously served on an advisory board for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.

Mr. Kieso has given generously toward residential, academic, and athletic building projects on campus, chairing the fundraising committee for the Campbell Student Union. Beyond Carthage, he donates to a variety of causes that support families.

A frequent traveler, Mr. Kieso has visited 66 countries. He has three children and lives in Chicago with his wife, Lisa.

 

Cynthia Thomas Walker ’78

Cynthia Thomas Walker '78Recently re-elected for another six-year term, Cynthia Thomas Walker ’78 has served as a judge in Michigan’s 50th District Court since 2003. Originally appointed to fill a midterm vacancy, she became chief judge in 2010.

Before joining the bench, she worked as an attorney for more than 20 years. Positions with Legal Services of Eastern Michigan and UAW Legal Services led her to Pontiac, Michigan, where she later served as city attorney and court administrator.

Through speaking engagements and role-playing activities, Judge Walker strives to make the law and legal careers accessible to younger generations. She has received multiple awards for professional, civic, and philanthropic contributions.

In 2018, Judge Walker co-founded the Wiggan-Kenniebrew Black Alumni Network, which supports students of color at Carthage. The network and its associated funds are named in part for her aunt, the late Lorraine Wiggan ’46, the College’s first Black graduate.

Judge Walker has a law degree from Valparaiso University in Indiana. She has an adult son.