Nevada Humanities Awards presented to University faculty and others

Cheryll Glotfelty, Gailmarie Pahmeier and other community members to be honored March 30

University of Nevada, Reno English faculty, Cheryll Glotfelty, left, and Gailmarie Pahmeier, right, will each receive Nevada Humanities awards after being nominated by many of their colleagues

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3/20/2017 | By: Hannah Richardson |

The Governor's Mansion will be bustling with faces from around Nevada to celebrate the 2017 Nevada Humanities Awards Ceremony Thursday, March 30, as several individuals from the Reno community and the University of Nevada, Reno will be presented with awards. Marilyn Melton will be honored with the Judith Winzeler Award for Excellence in the Humanities; Steven Nightingale with the Friend and Champion of the Humanities Award; and University English Lecturer Gailmarie Pahmeier and English Professor Cheryll Glotfelty from the Department of English each with the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award.

Nevada Humanities is a statewide organization that presents four awards every other year including the Judith Winzeler Award for Excellence in the Humanities, Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities, Friend and Champion of the Humanities and the Nevada Arts and Humanities award for Public Service. According to the Nevada Humanities website, the awards recognize individuals and organizations that foster cultural enrichment and deepen our understanding of the human experience by facilitating opportunities for Nevadans to engage with the humanities.

The Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award recognizes a Nevada educator, administrator, school district or education program for excellence and innovation in humanities teaching at any level.

Glotfelty was nominated by Peter Smith, an attorney in Carson City, in 2015 to receive the Outstanding Teaching Award for her work, including her comprehensive anthology of Nevada literature titled, "Literary Nevada: Writings from the Silver State."

"The book has given us a collection of materials that really set forth what Nevada has meant to a wide variety of people throughout the centuries," Smith said. "It gives us something to point to when asked what the humanities mean in our state."

Glotfelty was also nominated in 2011 for the Judith Winzeler Award for Excellence in the Humanities by several of her colleagues at the University including former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Heather Hardy; English Professor Michael Branch; and others. Glotfelty has written dozens of articles, essays, bibliographies and other materials ranging from western American and environmental literature, Nevada studies and other topics. She has received awards including the F. Donald Tibbitts Distinguished Teacher Award from the University, Nevada Professor of the Year Award from the CASE-Carnegie Foundation, among many others.

"I have one more year of teaching before retirement, so this award comes as icing on the cake of a career which has been rewarding in its own right," Glotfelty said. "I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to make a living doing what I love; something that I believe contributes to the greater good."

Pahmeier was nominated by three of her colleagues for the Outstanding Teaching award, including University President-Emeritus Joe Crowley; Mary Hodson Nork, a graduate student; and Melanie Perish, former director of development in Alumni Relations at the University. These three individuals also attended Pahmeier's poetry workshops throughout the years.

"What's most delightful about having been nominated by this trinity is that in addition to being respected and treasured colleagues of mine, these three have also been students of mine for several semesters, and all three are writers and thinkers of substance and integrity," Pahmeier said. "So, this is truly meaningful for me."

Pahmeier is considered a "domestic" poet, as her work focuses primarily on family and home. She has authored five collections of poetry, including the most recent, "The Rural Lives of Nice Girls." Her work has been widely published and anthologized in journals, magazines and other publications. She has received awards including the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award from the University's College of Liberal Arts, F. Donald Tibbitts Distinguished Teacher Award from the University, among others.

Melton, former Friends of the University Libraries President who conceived The Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1988, was nominated for the Judith Winzeler Award for Excellence in the Humanities. The Nevada Humanities website states that this award recognizes an individual, organization or business that has made an outstanding and lasting contribution by using the tools of the humanities to strengthen and enhance the lives of Nevadans.

Nightingale, author to more than a dozen publications including novels, sonnets, long essays and more, was nominated for the Friend and Champion of the Humanities Award. According to the Nevada Humanities website, this award recognizes a business, organization, foundation or individual for exemplary service in helping to advance the humanities in Nevada through partnership, funding, sponsorship, policy making or other activities.

"The Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award is such a fitting recognition of University English faculty members Gailmarie Pahmeier and Cheryll Glotfelty who have transformed the lives of so many students through their many years of inspired teaching and their own creative and interpretive writing," Debra Moddelmog, dean of the University's College of Liberal Arts, said. "We are also extremely pleased that our friends and generous supporters Steven Nightingale and Marilyn Melton have been recognized for their extensive contributions to the advancement of the humanities in Nevada."

To capture the creativity and sense of place the awardees have helped cultivate, this year's Nevada Humanities awards are original serigraphs created by Nevada artist Jack Malotte, who is a member of the Owens Valley Paiute-Shoshone Tribe. The reception will begin at 5 p.m., with the program commencing at 6 p.m. in the Nevada Room at the Governor's Mansion in Carson City. Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to Mary Toleno by March 24 via email or by calling 775-784-6587.

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