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Professor Judith Martin has Died

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A message from Dean Jim Parente:
Today the College of Liberal Arts and the University mourn the loss of Professor Judith Martin, who passed away early Monday morning.

Judith Martin was a home-grown jewel at the U. She received her M.A. in American history and M.A. and Ph.D. in American studies here at the U. She began her service here as a research associate in the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs in 1976, and held various term positions in CLA until she was hired as a professor in geography and director of the Urban Studies program in 1989.

Judith was an exemplary University citizen, one who senior administrators knew they could depend upon for thoughtful leadership and counsel. Her CV is filled with work on committees across the University, many of which she served as chair or vice-chair: Faculty Consultative Committee, University Senate, Senate Committee on Finance and Planning, and countless other committees on governance, planning, teaching, and students. She was an invaluable member of CLA's 2015 planning committee last year, and this year served on the provostal search committee.

Judith was a 15-year member of the Minneapolis Planning Commission, seven years as president. Judith brought her knowledge and leadership to the city she loved, contributing to the development of plans for land use, downtown development, light rail stations, and the new zoning codes that were developed in the '90s.

In addition to directing the Urban Studies program, Judith was founding co-director of the University Metropolitan Consortium. She seamlessly blended her research, teaching and service, and was widely sought for her expertise on urban planning, policy and governance; historic preservation; urban sprawl; and landscape and culture. Judith advanced the University's public engagement agenda through community-engaged research and outreach in urban and metropolitan issues. She also contributed to early strategic planning discussions to formulate the vision for UMore Park, with a special focus on academic opportunities for faculty, students and staff.

"I have often used the Twin Cities as a base for my work, due to my early belief that all too much urban research ignored the experiences of the most typical of American urban areas," she wrote. Her scholarly and community work were the subjects of a profile in CLA Today in 2004.

Over the course of her distinguished career in CLA and at the U she received many awards for teaching and service, including the Morse Amoco/Alumni Teaching Award, Academy of Distinguished Teachers, College of Continuing Education Teaching Award, CLA Alumna of Notable Achievement, and President's Award for Outstanding Service.

University President Emeritus Robert Bruininks said, "I received the news of Judith's passing with deep sadness. She was a dear friend of ours, and frequent confidante and advisor whose leadership, thoughtfulness, and broad perspective on issues impacting the University were invaluable to me over the past many years. We enjoyed so many walks along the Mississippi River together and had looked forward to many more. Susan and I will miss Judith terribly."

Plans for a memorial are pending and will be posted at

Star Tribune obituary

MPR story

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