Rita B. Garman was born in Aurora. She was valedictorian of Oswego High School in 1961. She received her B.S. degree in economics with highest honors from the University of Illinois in 1965, Bronze Tablet, and her J.D. degree with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1968. She was Assistant State's Attorney in Vermilion County (1969-73), was engaged in private practice with Sebat, Swanson, Banks, Lessen & Garman (1973), and was an Associate Circuit Judge for 12 years. She was a Circuit Judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit (1986-95) and Presiding Circuit Judge (1987-95). She was assigned to the Appellate Court, Fourth District, in July 1995, and was elected to the position in November 1996. Justice Garman was appointed to the Supreme Court on February 1, 2001, and elected to the Court on November 5, 2002. She is a member of the Vermilion County, Illinois State and Iowa Bar Associations, and the Illinois Judges' Association.