Judith Pearcy Christianson ’60

2010 Distinguished Citizen Award

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Always averse to being the center of attention, Judith Pearcy Christianson is nevertheless often at the center of the action. Upon graduation, she became a Southeast Asia analyst for the CIA in Washington, working on the Vietnam desk during the lead-up to the war. On the eve of her departure for Saigon, Bill Christianson convinced her to marry him and bring her talents and energies back to Minnesota.

Judith and Bill raised their three daughters in Red Wing, where she has proposed, strategized, researched, and done the heavy lifting for initiatives that have made Red Wing a jewel among Minnesota cities. Christianson co-founded the Rocking Horse Academy preschool and served 12 years on the Red Wing School Board, followed by service on the board of the Red Wing/Winona Technical College.

Christianson has also been an angel to the arts community. She was instrumental in the restoration of the historic Sheldon Theatre of Performing Arts and served on its board for almost 15 years. As part of a group of like-minded citizens, Christianson acquired the Anderson property and developed the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, which provides artists, writers, and scholars with dedicated time and space to pursue their work.

In recognition of her many contributions, the Kiwanis Clubs named Christianson the 2007 Red Wing Neighbor of the Year.

Donna Dummer, past mayor of Red Wing, wrote, "Judy may not realize it, but she has been a role model to me for a long time. Her visions [for] many projects and her efforts to bring people together brought many successful results. I truly admire Judy Christianson to the Nth degree!"