Keith Sanders is a native of Benton Illinois, and has spent most of his life in Southern Illinois.
He is a 1957 graduate of Benton Consolidated High School, and was named by the faculty as one of the ten most outstanding graduating seniors, and also attended one or two Lions Club dinners honoring good students.
Keith received a Bachelor of Science degree form SIUC in 1961 and a M.S. in 1962, where he met Carol Dial, his wife of 45 years. Keith won the state oratorical contest, and was the Illinois state debating champion while earning a “Top 10” designation at the national debate tournament.
In 1962 Keith joined the faculty at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., where he taught speech and coached championship debate teams.
Keith won a research fellowship to the University of Pittsburgh, and in 1968, he received his Ph.D. in Communication.
In 1967 he returned to SIUC and was promoted from instructor to full professor in ten years. Keith Coauthored or co contributed the writing of five books, and was the author of more than 60 articles on the role of communication in politics, and also won a “Book of the Year” award from “Choice Magazine”.
In 1983, Keith was appointed Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at SIUC.
In 1989, he joined the University of Wisconsin system, first assistant Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, and then as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the entire UW system.
Keith returned to Illinois in 1998 to become Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and was holding that position when Illinois was designated by the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education as having the best system of higher education in the nation.
Keith retired from the IBHE in 2002 and now serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at SIU.
Keith has won more than two dozen honors from international, national and statewide organizations including, a “Fellowship in Academic Administration” from the American Council on Education; was honored by invitations to give guest lectures at the University of Paris I (the Sorbonne) and at the University of Vienna; SIUC honored him an Alumni Achievement Award;
The Illinois General Assembly twice honored him with resolutions of appreciation and, May 19, 2002 was designated by the Governor as Keith R. Sanders day in Illinois.
Keith and Carol reside in Spring Grove, Illinois, not far from their son Mark, and their granddaughters.