Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joseph Barr Topinka  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: , in Berwyn, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Topinka was born in Berwyn and raised in Riverside. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Political Science/Pre-Law and History and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb with a Doctorate in Law. He also graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law with a Master in Laws in Health Law.

Biographical and Professional Information

Joseph Baar Topinka is an assistant professor at Texas State University as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Incarnate Word's School of Healthcare. He holds a BA from the University of Illinois; a juris doctor from Northern Illinois University; an MBA from Saint Martin's University; a Master of Laws, U.S. Army; a Master of Health Administration from Chapman University; and a Master of Laws, Loyola University Chicago. He has published or co-published many works over the last 10 years including a biography about his late mother - Judy Baar Topinka, a journalist turned elected official who became the first woman elected state treasurer (1995-2007).

The "Just Judy" author believes the principles his mother lived by ”good government, civility, ethics and a love of heritage” will resonate with readers, particularly those who aren't familiar with her career, which also included terms as a state representative, state senator and comptroller and a 2006 run for governor.

Topinka currently resides in Texas.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Just Judy: A Citizen and Leader for Illinois
ISBN: 0998328227

Hilton Publishing Company. 2018

In Just Judy, we read the story of Judy Baar Topinka, a strong and inspiring female leader who changed Illinois history through her commitment to effective government and equality. Through education and persistence, Judy found herself on a history-making path, impacting the lives of millions of Illinois residents along her way. Judy began her career as a journalist and moved into government as a State Representative, State Senator, and then State Comptroller. Her story is a unique portrayal of modern Illinois history based on the life of a female politician who defied traditional gender roles to rise to the top of her profession and support the lives of people throughout the state. Featuring compelling photographs, unique primary sources, and inspiring discussion questions, this book is an ideal resource for students of history from middle school through adult. Judy Baar Topinka continues to inspire us all.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: No.