U professor a ‘homegrown jewel’

Judith Martin had been a professor at the University since 1975.

U professor a ‘homegrown jewel’

by Jill Jensen

Judith Martin, a geography professor who had been at the University of Minnesota for more than 35 years, died Monday of complications from breast cancer treatment. She was 63.

Martin, who founded the UniversityâÄôs Urban Studies Program in 1989, had the ability to engage and connect with her students, said Brenda Kayzar, an assistant geography professor.

Paula Pentel, MartinâÄôs close friend and colleague, agreed.

She said while Martin was involved in many service projects at the University and throughout Minneapolis, it was all about teaching for Martin.

âÄúThere are many students who are urban studies majors because of Judith as much as the topic,âÄù said Pentel, who works in the Urban Studies Program.

Kayzar said Martin had a dry sense of humor: She told stories with a âÄúwry winkâÄù that conveyed the irony of what she was trying to say, Kayzar said.

Martin also loved movies and âÄúsaw almost everything that came out,âÄù Pentel said.

Martin was a board member of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, a performing arts festival held annually. She also served 15 years on the City of Minneapolis Planning Commission, eight of them as president.

âÄúShe really, really, truly loved the Twin Cities,âÄù Kayzar said. âÄúShe knew the Twin Cities so intimately.âÄù

In her biography on the department of geography website, Martin wrote that she had wide-ranging interests in urban and cultural geography and usually based her work in the Twin Cities.

Former University President Bob Bruininks wrote in a press release that Martin was a close friend who provided invaluable perspective on University issues over the years.

 âÄúWe enjoyed so many walks along the Mississippi River together and had looked forward to many more,âÄù Bruininks said. âÄú[My wife] and I will miss Judith terribly.âÄù

Martin was a âÄúhomegrown jewel,âÄù said College of Liberal Arts Dean James Parente in the press release.

She received her masterâÄôs degree in American history and her masterâÄôs degree and doctorate in American studies from the University.

Martin was an adjunct faculty member in the American Studies Program and taught at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in conjunction with her positions as professor in the geography department and director of the Urban Studies Program at the University.