News Release

Nimmer Honored as Distinguished Fellow

Alumna Kathy Nimmer ’91, author, teacher, and motivational speaker, continues to make a difference by inspiring and educating the public about the disability community. Nimmer has been named one of nine Distinguished Fellows for 2009 by the Lilly Endowment. The award is accompanied by a $25,000 grant to fund Nimmer’s proposed book project, a collection of stories and experiences from people who have disabilities and have worked with service dogs.

Nimmer, propelled by her own blindness and her passion for others who have disabilities, aims to use this grant to write a book entirely unique in content.

“Putting these stories into an anthology that will inspire and educate the public, I will create a book along the lines of Chicken Soup publications that, believe it or not, has never been written,” said Nimmer. “While the public is fascinated by working dogs, no one has ever yet collected their stories into the kind of anthology I wish to create.”

Working with others to discover and create resources to gather these stories, Nimmer is currently working on setting up an interactive Web site where people can submit their stories for review. The Web site will also provide a resource for those who have stories they would love to share about their canine partners but do not want to write themselves.

Nimmer will soon begin getting the word out to the disability community by way of mailings, advertisements, and various conferences and conventions. She plans to visit multiple dog-training schools and make media appearances in order to inspire others to share their stories.

“Over the course of the next year and a half, I’ll walk this journey and hopefully reach the destination with a book in hand, full of stories I’ve either edited or written that celebrate the fascinating partnership between the disabled and their working dogs,” said Nimmer.

Nimmer, blind since her late childhood, uses her disability as a witness for God’s grace. Using her gift of language, Nimmer has taught English and creative writing at Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana, for more than a decade. After graduating from Trinity Christian College with a degree in education, Nimmer earned an M.A. in English from Purdue University.

The Distinguished Fellows award is given to nine Indiana educators, school librarians, guidance counselors, and administrators, enabling them to pursue further studies or explore something of personal interest. The award is designed to fund these projects while supporting possible time that they must take away from the school.

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