As the sole trustee of the Lied Foundation Trust, Christina M. Hixson has been responsible for thousands of people having access to needed community facilities and educational opportunities across the country.
Hixson’s early days were meager, growing up as a tenant farmer’s daughter in Clarinda, Iowa. While she knew she would not be able to afford a formal college education, she borrowed money from an uncle to attend business school in Omaha, Neb. Although she only took classes there for one semester, she had an innate sense of math and business, which led to her future endeavors.
Hired by Ernst Lied in the 1940s, Hixson served as secretary for his rapidly growing Buick dealership. After hearing about the land boom, he came to Las Vegas in 1958 to take advantage of the low real estate prices. Hixson relocated to Southern Nevada in 1960. Lied’s investments eventually grew to extraordinary proportions and Hixson was crucial in the development of his commercial properties, which included shopping centers, a hotel, and the construction of homes.
Lied established the Lied Foundation Trust in 1972 in honor of his parents, Ernst M. and Ida K. Lied. Before he passed away in 1980 at age 74, he named Hixson the sole trustee of the foundation, instructing her to sell his land holdings to fund it. At the time of his death, his operation included more than 1,000 acres of prime Las Vegas real estate plus a number of other lucrative businesses.
Although Lied trusted Hixson to oversee the foundation, he did not leave specific instructions about what to fund with his philanthropic contributions. Hixson decided that one major focus would be providing educational assistance so prospective students could someday give back to their own communities, as she has had the privilege of doing so generously.
Over the years, many communities have benefitted from the combination of Lied’s financial gifts and Hixson’s business acumen. At UNLV, this includes the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies, the Lied Athletic Complex, the Ernst F. Lied Golf Scholarship, and the Lied Library. Her oversight of the foundation also has provided funds for the Lied Children’s Museum, Lied Animal Shelter, Lied Ambulatory Care Center at UMC, and a host of other accomplishments. She also has made gifts possible to projects and programs in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, California and Washington.