News Alumni Stories 

Tom Higgins

April 11, 2022

ICC Class of 1985 (Law Enforcement)

Member of the ICC Men’s Basketball team 1983-85

Transferred to Bradley University

Professor of Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies, Illinois Central College

Tell us about the career path that led you to your current job.

While at Bradley I returned to ICC to work as a Public Safety Officer. After Bradley, I continued my career in law enforcement while attending The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. After law school and stints with the Illinois Attorney General’s office and a couple of Chicago law firms, I returned to Peoria to practice law. I worked as a trial lawyer and became a partner in a law firm. I also taught part-time at ICC and when the founder of my programs, Roy “Doc” Wright was retiring, I joined the faculty full-time.

How did ICC shape your future or help you attain your professional goals?

I was a first-generation college student from a low-income, single-parent home. Doc Wright, Carrol Herman, Art Moser, Bobbie Widmer, Ken Williams, Herb Spinder, and Bob Walker and so many faculty and staff really encouraged and supported me. They provided a safety net and a trampoline all at the same time. Just as so many ICC faculty and staff do for our students today. Without those people, without ICC, there would have been no college, no professional goals, none of the options I was blessed with in my life.

What does it mean to you to be able to teach at ICC and educate future ICC alumni?

I have been teaching for a long time now. I wake up excited to be able to teach and move our students on to being ICC Alumni today as I did all those years ago when I started teaching full-time. Some of my former students have already retired. But I still have the same energy and passion for what Illinois Central College brings to our community and what I am privileged to bring to the classroom as I did that first day I returned as a full-time faculty member. I get to help people reach their goals, achieve their dreams, and make their lives and the lives of the generations that follow them better. And they pay me to do this!

What advice would you give current students at ICC to succeed?

Listen to and lean on your professors, your advisors, anyone at ICC who makes themselves available to you. Follow their advice and take advantage of the time and effort they put into you as you put in your own time and effort to learn, become skilled, and grow towards what your time at ICC will afford you in your next chapter in life. I have coached basketball for many years, and I coached here at ICC for a time. I also taught college credit group exercise classes at ICC, primarily Physical Conditioning and Weight Training. I still draw on that experience today as I help students and graduates alike prepare for the physical agility tests they face to enter and retain positions in policing.