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Lawyer, Arts Patron Shares Wisdom with UGS Students

Ten undergraduates gathered for the last Magellan’s Circle of the semester: a round-table discussion with Jo Anne Christian, a successful lawyer and leader in the Austin arts community. Magellan’s Circles provide open forums for students to ask questions and gain insight into a variety of paths to careers.

Most of the students who attended plan on applying to law school. In response to questions from them, Christian talked about different kinds of law (she has three sons who practice law in different areas), and her time on the Texas Supreme Court. She also reflected on her time as an undergraduate, and encouraged students to get lots of experience while still in college by pursuing interdisciplinary experiences and majors, and volunteering and holding internships to help with the law school application. 

Prior to retirement, Christian was the Vice President and General Counsel for George Christian, Inc. A highly respected lawyer, she worked at the Texas Supreme Court, as Assistant General Counsel at the U.S. Information Agency in Washington, D.C., then in mediation and as a legislative consultant for the Texas Association of Defense Council. She was central to the creation of the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and currently serves on its Board of Trustees. She also chairs the board of the Austin Lyric Opera, and served as President of Austin Lyric Opera from 1991 till 1997, among numerous other contributions to Austin’s art world. In addition to her career and work in the arts, she served on the University’s Commission of 125. She has six children and twelve grandchildren.

After speaking about her career, Christian reflected on her involvement with the Long Center. Sarah McKay, one of the event organizers and a UGS advisor, noted that it is particularly valuable for students to be exposed to successful professionals’ other interests: Christian is not just a lawyer, and found a way to pursue her passion for arts and music without making it a career.

Magellan’s Circles are open to current Undergraduate Studies students. If you are interested in attending a future event or have questions, please email us.