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Keynote Speaker Tom Kohl

Good Friday Breakfast 2020 Keynote Speaker

On Friday, Apr. 10, 2020, at the Good Friday Breakfast, Judge Tom Kohl will share his powerful message of how God can take a tragedy and turn it into a triumph. Tom's daughter, Megan, was brutally murdered in 2006 and in the aftermath he wrote and published a book called, “Losing Megan; Finding Hope, Comfort and Forgiveness in the Midst of Murder” in 2012. The book opened doors to churches, special events and prisons for Judge Kohl to share his powerful story of hope and forgiveness with inmates and others. Join us for Tom's life-changing story of redemption. 

Tom's Story

Tom Kohl, Senior Judge, Faith-based Mediator, Public Speaker and Author

Judge Kohl was appointed to the bench in Washington County, Oregon by Gov. John Kitzhaber in April of 1997. Prior to his appointed, he specialized in employment law. Since his appointment, Judge Kohl has been elected three times. He retired from full-time judging on January 1, 2016 and currently is on assignment, part-time, as a Senior Judge for the State of Oregon.

He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky (BA) and the University of Toledo (JD). He headed the birth of the Washington County Adult Drug Court in 2005 and was the only judge for the drug count until his retirement. Judge Kohl was the Presiding Judge in Washington County from 2006 through 2010. He was President of the Oregon State Circuit Court Judges’ Association from 2010-11.

In 2006, Judge Kohl’s daughter, Megan, was brutally murdered. The killer was tried and convicted of aggravated murder several years later. Judge Kohl is a Christian and was able to forgive Megan’s murderer only through the power and presence of Jesus Christ in his life. Judge Kohl wrote and published a book, “Losing Megan; Finding Hope, Comfort and Forgiveness in the Midst of Murder” in 2012. The book opened doors to churches and special events for Judge Kohl to talk about how God can take a tragedy and turn it into a triumph. The book has also opened the doors of prisons for Judge Kohl to share his powerful story of hope and forgiveness with inmates. He has spoken in prisons around the country including Oregon, Washington, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Louisiana (Angola Prison) and overseas in prisons in Rwanda and Indonesia.

In February of 2017, Judge Kohl founded a nonprofit, Paid in Full Oregon (PiFO). PiFO started a four-year accredited college degree program in one of Oregon’s prisons-the Oregon State Correctional Institution. PiFO is partnering with Corban University in Salem and the Oregon Department of Corrections in this endeavor. The college in prison is the first of it’s kind in the Northwest and began classes on October 14, 2019. Learn more about Paid in Full Oregon.

With funding from Paid in Full Oregon, Corban will provide a biblically-based education to 25 students in each entering class. All students will have a prison sentence that extends at least four years beyond the completion of their degrees. After graduation, they will be sent out to other prisons in Oregon to mentor and counsel fellow adults in custody. These graduate students will bring a message of hope to their fellow inmates throughout the Oregon prison system. The culture of the prison will begin to change from the inside out.

Judge Kohl lives in Hillsboro with his wife, Julie.

News Coverage

Read an article written by a Corbin University student featuring Judge Tom Kohl's life and career.