Judith Patterson, ’75, is on human-rights watch

Judith Patterson

Judith Patterson wants to see the day when the world no longer needs “watchdogs” like her. “Since the beginning I’ve thought it would be wonderful if I could go out of the human-rights business,” says the 1975 UW graduate.

For many years a volunteer for Amnesty International, Patterson recently joined the Nobel prize­winning group’s board of directors. “The winds of freedom blowing around the world make me think that maybe it could happen,” she says, mentioning changes in South Africa and the February election in Nicaragua. “But part of me says, probably not,” she adds, referring specifically to China.

Patterson joined Amnesty International when she was an English major at the UW. She was inspired to join during a Joan Baez benefit concert in Meany Hall. She later became coordinator for groups working with political prisoners in Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia and spent two years editing Amnesty International USA. Today, she also runs a public relations firm, Creative Enterprises, from her home in Hamilton, Va. Her husband, Andrew Stoddard, received a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the UW in 1983. They have two children, Jeremiah and Jessica.