Nefertiti Burton
Nefertiti Burton

University of Louisville faculty take seriously their efforts to connect to students with dynamic, engaging and relevant instruction that fosters success in the classroom and beyond. For her commitment to student development, Nefertiti Burton, professor and chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, received the 2023 University of Louisville Trustees Award.

The UofL Board of Trustees established the $5,000 award in 1989 to honor faculty who individually impact the future of UofL students. The University of Louisville Employee Success Center presented the award to Burton at the 2023 Presidential Excellence Awards reception, which took place April 13. Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Cherie Dawson-Edwards noted several of Burton’s qualities and accomplishments as a member of UofL’s faculty.

“Dr. Burton is a dedicated and gracious teacher and artist and a highly regarded scholar-practitioner in her field,” said Dawson-Edwards. “She has been recognized with prestigious grants and awards for both herself and her students. Further, she is a consummate teacher and committed builder of the African American Theatre Program, the first and only accredited graduate program of its kind in the nation.”

Dawson-Edwards added that Burton, who joined the university in 1999 as an assistant professor, is also a dedicated interdisciplinarian, finding innovative ways to bring theater into conversation with other disciplines and other areas of expertise, for example, with the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. Burton is one of the institute’s most active faculty affiliates and supporters, regularly encouraging her students to apply for the social justice research awards offered annually and often bringing students into the institute’s reading room to learn little-known aspects of their shared local history.

“It is the greatest honor of my academic career to be chosen by my peers as the recipient of the 2023 Trustees Award,” said Burton, who will retire at the conclusion of the academic year. “This acknowledgement humbles me and fuels my commitment to uphold the Cardinal Principles and be an ally who fights for the well-being of our students, alums, colleagues and community.”