Dr. Judith Martin, director of the urban studies program at the University of Minnesota, passed away Oct. 3 from complications related to breast cancer treatment.
ItâÄôs not often that you find, especially at such a large college, a professor who knows you by your first name and cares enough to sit and chat with you for extended periods of time; much less is the founder and director of your program.
Someone who is at once a great lecturer, teacher and butt-kicker, as well as a great listener, thoughtful realist and willing assistant to your academic curiosities is a rare find.
I had the privilege of writing a paper for Martin last year. The grade she gave me still stands as a high point in my college career because to get a good grade from her, you really had to earn it.
When you would float an idea by her, and she bestowed upon it her trademark compliment, âÄúthat sounds reasonable,âÄù you felt as though you could conquer this assignment and the next one too. She made you want to work that much harder.
Martin was going to advise me on my senior paper next spring, above-and-beyond the realm of her teaching duties.
Martin even told me the idea for my paper was one she had never heard of, even though she also told me she had seen everything; and I knew she had.
Her reference would have made any studentâÄôs rÃ©sumÃ© excellent, should a student have had the honor of earning it. But it would have meant even more on a personal level.
Martin has done so much in this little corner of the world, leaving our city and school better places.
ItâÄôs safe to say that my life is better too because of her. She helped make it a little bit clearer what I might like to do with my own life.
Thank you to Martin. I believe I can pay the highest respect to her by saying she led a quite âÄúreasonableâÄù life.
And those of us in the urban studies community have been left feeling âÄúreasonablyâÄù sore by her passing.