MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — A reception was held at the West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center honoring the career of United States District Judge Irene M. Keeley.

Judge Keeley has served as an active district court judge for over 30 years, she also served as District Chief Judge for seven years during her tenure. During her career, she presided over 1,900 criminal cases and saw over 2,700 defendants, more than 5,450 civil cases, and more than 90 patent cases. Speakers said that she had a generational impact on the State Bar Association and beyond the bench and state of law.

“The White House appointment came on a day when I thought, ‘Well I don’t think this will ever happen,’ and I picked up the phone, and um, I was told I would be re a phone call from President George Bush later in the day. I guess I could figure out what it was for and he did call me later that day and told me he was nominating me for the position,” said Irene M. Keeley, U.S. District Judge, retired.

Judge Keeley said that Senators Byrd and Rockefeller also called her and were in support of her nomination. Keeley has served the state as a U.S. District Judge since 1992.

“You have to learn to be a judge. So, over 30 years I went from knowing nothing to maybe knowing a little bit. Every case is different, every experience on the bench is a challenge and you have to be prepared for it every day,” Keeley said.

In her speech to those in attendance, Keeley said it was a blessing to be able to do the job because she had been diagnosed with cancer after four months of being on the bench. She said that after having chemotherapy and going through the illness the job was even more of a blessing.