Romani Named CAS Distinguished Alumnus at WIU
October 30, 2013
MACOMB, IL – Charles "Chuck" V. Romani, Jr., a 1969 graduate of Western Illinois University, has been named the 2013 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
Romani will receive his award during the seventh annual CAS scholarship dinner, from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, in the University Union Grand Ballroom at WIU. During the same event, the CAS leadership will recognize some of their Inaugural Scholarships and the students they have been awarded to.
Romani, a veteran of Vietnam, graduated from Western with a degree in history. He was also a member of the Theta Chi fraternity chapter on campus.
After leaving Western, Romani enlisted in the U.S. Army and went to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, for basic training. He was then stationed in Fort Knox, KY, for advance training in communications. He moved on to Fort Gordon, GA, where he graduated first in his class at signal school.
After being deployed to South Vietnam in 1970, Romani was assigned to an Army Security Agency Unit, the eighth Radio Research Field Station. He was then sent to the demilitarized zone with the 407th Radio Research Detachment, a unit attached to the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, Mechanized at Camp Red Devil, Quang Tri Province.
The group's mission was to intercept enemy radio transmissions and other communications and to translate or decode them. They also tracked troop movements and were called the "eyes and ears" of the 1st Brigade. Romani was the group's communications man.
After he was discharged from the Army in 1971, Romani attended the St. Louis University School of Law. After his graduation in 1974, he worked as an assistant state's attorney in the Madison County State's Attorney's Office.
In 1976, Romani was elected Bond County State's Attorney and he was reelected to a second term in 1980.
Romani was appointed as an associate circuit judge for the Third Judicial Circuit in 1983, and in November 1988, he was elected circuit judge. While serving as a circuit judge, Romani was the circuit's chief judge for two years, and he was chief judge over the criminal division for 15 years.
Romani was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Judicial Conference of Illinois Courts, where he served on the Committee on Education, which developed and coordinated seminars, conferences and judicial workshops for the judges of Illinois; the Committee on Criminal Law and Probation Administration; the Study Committee on Complex Litigation, Civil and Criminal; and the Special Supreme Court Committee on Capital Cases. He taught at many education seminars throughout his career. He also tried to jury verdict 40 first-degree murder cases, eight of which were death penalty cases.
In March, 2009, Romani started a Veterans Court in Madison County, the third court of its kind in the United States at that time. The court was established to help veterans who were charged with non-violent crimes and who had drug/alcohol problems and/or a mental health issue, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, to receive treatment. The court received a national award in 2010, the Paul H. Chapman Award.
The Madison County Veterans Court was recognized for keeping veterans out of criminal court and offering alternative sentencing. After the creation of the Veterans Court in Madison County, Romani and Judge Robert Russell of Buffalo, NY, who started the first Veterans Court, were invited to Washington D.C. to participate in a round-table discussion about Veterans Courts with the United States House of Representative's Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Upon retirement in November 2012, Romani was the guest of honor at a retirement dinner and a fundraiser for Veterans Court at the Meridian Ball Room at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. The event raised more than $20,000 for the Madison County Veterans Court.
Romani was also a manager in Little League baseball for eight years and a board member of the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Little League Association for 10 years. He is a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church, American Legion Post 713 and VFW Post 1377.
Romani and his wife, Karen, were married in August 1974. They have three children, Allyson, David and Kerry.
For more information about the CAS dinner or to register, visit wiu.edu/cas.