Kathleen Butterly Nigro is passionate about enriching people’s lives through culture and the humanities, particularly literature. Work by the assistant teaching professor of English and gender studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis has not gone unnoticed by Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri Humanities Council who awarded her the Governor’s Humanities Award in Exemplary Community Achievement.
She received the award Wednesday in a ceremony at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.
Nigro has shared the humanities with the St. Louis community and Missouri through a multitude of literary discussions, speeches, exhibits and cultural events. The Missouri Humanities Council took note of one of her major initiatives, ReadMOre, which she cofounded in 2001. The statewide reading initiative encourages everyone throughout Missouri to read the year’s selected book and participate in programming surrounding it.
“I didn’t know how long it would last, but I did see the therapeutic power of reading, discussing and communicating on a community and statewide basis,” Nigro said. “The humanities are the expressions of what it means to be human.”
Each year the state of Missouri and the Missouri Humanities Council celebrate the accomplishments of people who have made exceptional contributions to the understanding of Missouri, its people and stories. The awards ceremony also recognized two additional Missouri individuals and two organizations that display exemplary community achievement, one individual demonstrating excellence in education and one individual for distinguished literary achievement.
“The Missouri Humanities Council commends this select group of Missourians and Missouri organizations that have made lasting contributions to our culture, to our greater knowledge and to the quality of life in communities across the state of Missouri,” said Geoff Giglierano, Missouri Humanities Council executive director. “We are indebted to them, as through their work, they have contributed to the larger goal of helping to foster a civil, literate and thoughtful society.”
The Missouri Humanities Council was founded in 1971 as an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its purpose is to promote and support the humanities—areas of study that include history, languages, literature, law, religion, and philosophy– and to foster a more civil literate and thoughtful society.