By Samia Gazi & Ed Reece
From a diligent historian and civic leader to an accomplished mayor and author, Judy Wright’s contributions are memorable and noteworthy. She married Colin Wright, who became an economics professor at Claremont Graduate University, before migrating west from her birthplace of Illinois. Not long after arriving in Claremont, she became active in civic affairs serving as a member and President of the League of Women Voters and a member of the Planning Commission. She was eventually elected to City Council, serving as Mayor for three years. I am pleased to recognize Judy Wright during Women’s History Month.
Wright established her way into the world of literature by researching and writing Claremont: A Pictorial History which encapsulates Claremont’s history in terms of planning, architecture, vision, and the continued importance of these elements. Later, she published the second edition of Claremont, which admired turn-of-the-century housing and architecture within the city. The Times praised the second edition of Claremont as one of the best nonfiction books of the year 2000. To honor and recognize the role women played in shaping Claremont, she curated Claremont Women: 1887-1950. Judy observed that although men built the seven Claremont Colleges, “the women built the town.”
Alongside her literary passions stood Wright’s civic ones. In her service as Mayor of Claremont and her 13 years on Council, and after decades of experience as a member and President of the League of Women Voters, she led the effort to bring the Metrolink to the San Gabriel Valley and made Claremont a vital stop along the line. Judy was a founding board member of Foothill Transit and a visionary who wanted to establish the Gold Line in Claremont. She was also instrumental in preserving the Claremont hillsides and creating what is now known as the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park (CHWP). Judy Wright was also a founding member of Claremont Heritage, a non-profit organization formed in 1976 with a mission to advance, preserve, and celebrate our community's historic architectural, natural, and cultural resources through collaboration, education, and advocacy.
Her long history with Claremont has had lasting impacts and provided many improvements to the community and its residents. Wright truly defined the importance of being a visionary. Judy Wright was passionate about preservation in multiple forms and thoughtful planning. Claremont is a better place, thanks to Judy’s foresight and focus.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it is my honor to say, on behalf of the Claremont Community, "thank you, Judy Wright!”