Alumni Achievement Award: Lynne Christiano
Lynne Christiano says that there is nothing traditional about her, which is why she decided that it was time to pursue a college degree even though she was working full-time, her two daughters were still in school, and she was thinking about opening her own business.
Lynne earned her associate of arts degree from Lake Michigan College in 2014, taking classes at the same time she created and opened Purely Michigan, a retail store featuring products from and about Michigan, in downtown St. Joseph. Since successfully selling the business in 2015, Lynne currently serves as office manager for the Berrien County Public Defenders Office.
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Lynne moved to Southwest Michigan in 1987 and has since worked as assistant studio manager for Johnson Rauhoff Photography, served as development director of the Curious Kids Museum, and was a long-time executive assistant at The Herald-Palladium.
In 1998, she became a founding member of the nonprofit organization, 100 Women Strong, assisting women in Berrien County with emergency financial needs, and establishing a scholarship at Lake Michigan College to encourage women of any age to obtain new skills and training on their way to self-sufficiency.
Lynne also is an active member of many other nonprofit organizations, including the Readiness Center, Women’s Service League, Krasl Art Center, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Berrien Community Foundation and United Way of Southwest Michigan.
A firm believer in life-long learning, Lynne credits the professors and counselors at Lake Michigan College with instilling a level of confidence needed to succeed in any career.
The Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Lynne Christiano in 2019.