The 29th Annual Leonora Kempner Thompson
Community Enrichment Award


The Grand 1894 Opera House

Saturday, July 23, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
Cocktail Reception – Edna’s Room at The Grand
Dinner on Stage followed by Award Presentation
Cocktail Attire | Valet Parking

Meeting Kathy McGovern is a lot like taking in a breath of fresh air. Her passionate commitment to support key organizations in education, medicine, the arts and so much more is very determined, yet quietly accomplished, with little or no recognition unless one has great powers of persuasion to convince her otherwise. Born Kathrine Dunbar Galbreath in 1933 in Houston, Kathy has lived her entire life in Houston, except for one semester during college. She attended River Oaks Elementary School, Lanier Junior High School, and Lamar High School before attending the University of Houston, where she studied business and art. While attending the University, she went to work for Dr. Goldie Ham as a secretary and receptionist for four years, then following Dr. Ham’s retirement, she took a position with Dr. John P. McGovern, whom she later married in 1961. Their honeymoon in Florida led to a lifelong passion for fishing and birding.

At the time of her marriage to Dr. McGovern, Kathy was one semester from graduating from the University of Houston. She was convinced that she would eventually finish her studies, but “Jack” wanted her to continue working in the office with him – which she did, as she enjoyed the work. She was and remains to this day a loyal UH Cougar!

Kathy and Jack maintained a winter home in California, where Kathy pursued her interest in birding. She joined birding groups at The Living Desert while she enjoyed the desert and the surrounding mountains. Upon returning to Houston, she joined Jim Stevenson’s birding group in Galveston, as well as Houston Audubon. Having a home on the west end of Galveston Island, she was able to enjoy the great variety of shore birds that venture to the island each year.  She has always loved parakeets, even as a youngster and now shares her home with “Mackie”.

The John P. McGovern Foundation, founded by Dr. McGovern in 1961 and now led by Kathy, has made transformational gifts to support major organizations in Galveston as well as Houston. Her commitment to Galveston and The Grand 1894 Opera House is just a small part of what makes Kathy a natural to receive The Grand’s Leonora Kempner Thompson Community Enrichment Award. The Board of Directors, past presidents and staff of The Grand is proud to present the 2022 “Nonie” to Kathrine G. McGovern, a woman who exemplifies the spirit of making a difference wherever she goes. 


The Leonora Kempner Thompson Community Enrichment Award originated from a desire on the part of the Trustees of the Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund to honor Leonora Kempner (Nonie) Thompson on the occasion of her retirement as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Kempner Fund.  She had served on the Board as a Trustee and Secretary/Treasurer for thirty-four years and then for four years as Chairman, succeeding her brother, Harris L. Kempner.

Because of Ms. Thompson’s active participation, dedication, and commitment to her community, the Trustees of the Kempner Fund voted to designate a contribution to The Grand 1894 Opera House to be used as the nucleus of a revolving fund to assist in underwriting an annual special event to raise funds for the organization’s many vital programs and operations.

In 1992, The Grand’s Board of Directors chose to establish an annual event to honor an individual or individuals who had contributed to the enrichment of the community in the spirit of Leonora Kempner Thompson.  They voted to name the annual award in her honor and selected her as the first recipient.

For additional information about the 2022 Community Enrichment Award event honoring Kathrine G. McGovern, please contact Virginia Weber at 409.770.5055 or 800.821.1894.


1992 – Leonora Kempner Thompson (first recipient)

1993 – George and Cynthia Mitchell

1994 – Edna and Bill Levin

1995 – Mrs. Frances Moody Newman, Mr. Shearn Moody, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Moody, Sr.

1996 – Dennis Miller

1997 – Lyda Ann Quinn Thomas

1998 – Susan and Johnny Walker

1999 – Ruth Kempner

2000 – Diane and Marion Duzich

2001 – Tilman and Paige Fertitta

2002 – Pat and Fred Burns

2003 – Maureen and Larry Patton

2004 – Margaret and Jim Earthman

2005 – Mary Ann and Jack Stobo

2006 – Gerry and Gene Hornstein, Lynn and Armin Cantini

2007 – Brenda Levy Hutchings

2008 – Harris L. Kempner, Jr. and Hetta Towler Kempner (Shrub and Peaches)

2009 – Burke Evans

2010 – Mary Ellen and Chuck Doyle

2011 – Cindy and John L. Sullivan and Susanne and Gerald Sullivan

2012 – Susan Lipnick Lynch and Robert L.K. Lynch

2013 – Drs. Ben and Sharon Raimer

2014 – The Honorable Craig Eiland

2015 – Janice and Victor Pierson

2016 – Francisco “Paco” Vargas

2017 – B.J. and Buddy Herz

2018 – Gina Spagnola

2019 – Ray and Vivian Pinard