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Penn State Law saddened by death of Jack Keeney '49


The Law School is saddened to announce the death of John C. “Jack” Keeney ’49, who passed away on Saturday, November 19, 2011, at his home in Kensington, Maryland. With the passing of Keeney, the Law School has lost one of its oldest alumni and most revered public servants in U.S. history.

Together with the Federal Bar Association, the Law School had planned to honor Keeney with the Justice Tom C. Clark Award for Outstanding Government Lawyer and naming of the John C. Keeney Semester in Washington, D.C. Program at a luncheon on December 13. Keeney’s son will be present at the luncheon to accept the award on behalf of the Keeney family. Former colleagues, fellow alumni, and members of the D.C. legal community are welcome to attend. 

Keeney retired from a 59 year career with the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division in 2010 as one of the longest serving federal employees in U.S. history. Over the course of his career, he held such positions as Chief of the Smith Act Unit in the Internal Security Division, Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, Chief of the Fraud Section, and as a representative of the U.S. legal team negotiating the mutual legal assistance treaty with Switzerland. He served on numerous occasions as Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division.

Keeney was celebrated by the Department of Justice with the prestigious Attorney General’s Award for his exceptional service and with the Criminal Division’s highest award, the Henry E. Petersen Memorial Award. The Justice Department dedicated its building at 1301 New York Avenue, N.W., in his name.

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