Donna Nigh was born in Oklahoma City. After graduating from Capitol Hill High School and attending Central State College she worked for Trans World Airlines at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. She became active in politics while her husband was serving in various political offices, including Governor of Oklahoma.
In 1982 she played an integral role in legislation and funding developing group homes in Oklahoma. This program, now part of the annual state budget, is identified as the Donna Nigh Group Home Program. After serving as First Lady of Oklahoma, Nigh served as First Lady of her alma mater, the University of Central Oklahoma. The Student Union on the University of Central Oklahoma campus is named after her and her husband, and the campus also houses the Donna Nigh Art Gallery.
In 1984 the Donna Nigh Foundation was formed. This organization awards grants to people with developmental disabilities. She was appointed by President Clinton in 1997 as a member of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation, and has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the City Rescue Mission, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Friends of the Mansion, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, Care-Point, Special Olympics, the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, and others. She has also served as a deacon at the Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Nigh was honored with special ceremonies at the State Capitol in 1984 honoring her career in public service. She was inducted in the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2008. The George and Donna Nigh Public Service Scholarship was established in 1999 honoring students annually in public service in all institutions of higher education in Oklahoma. Nigh is also on the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation Wall of Fame. She has been inducted in the Capitol Hill High School Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services honored her in 1999 with the Outstanding Volunteer Award. She also received the Pioneer Woman Award, among many other awards and honors.
She is married to George Nigh, who served as Governor of Oklahoma for eight years. They have two children, Mike (deceased) and Georgeann, as well as seven grandchildren.
(Bio current as of 2008)