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The College of Communication Arts & Sciences has established a fund to honor the life and work of Bonnie Bucqueroux, who inspired generations of journalism students as a professor for 20 years. The purpose of the fund is to create a student scholarship in journalism.
Bucqueroux died Oct. 14 after a short illness.
“We are saddened by the loss of Bonnie Bucqueroux, a beloved faculty member and dedicated journalism professor,” said Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. “Bonnie was a passionate journalism professor who touched the lives of thousands of students. She cared deeply about those in our society whose voice goes unheard. This loss leaves a big hole in the college and I know the same is true in the community.”
Bucqueroux was a journalist, teacher, digital pioneer and activist who challenged students to use journalism to improve their communities.
“I will always be grateful to Bonnie Bucqueroux, who encouraged me (and all her students) to learn how to do online journalism. It was so new at that time; YouTube didn’t even exist when we started out,” said Rachel Wilkerson Miller (B.A. Journalism ’07), who now works as the senior editor of the Life Section at BuzzFeed, an Internet news media company. “I really found a voice in blogging as The Spartanette at MSU and Bonnie’s endless encouragement made me fearless.”
This semester, Bucqueroux was teaching three MSU courses including an introduction to journalism and mass media course, a photojournalism course and a public relations course.
“Bonnie Bucqueroux was an extraordinary person with a lot of drive and passion for the field of journalism. So many students, including myself, had the opportunity to have her as our first journalism professor,” journalism major Kyna Garrett said. “I remember that she made the nerves of a first college lecture disappear with one of her many interesting stories that she always tied back to the lesson. She made me realize that the journalism field was meant for me.”
Last spring, Bucqueroux presented Garrett with an award at the School of Journalism Student Awards Convocation.
“It was a joy standing on stage next to her,” said Garrett, who had Bucqueroux as a professor for JRN 108, JRN 300 and JRN 450. “I was lucky enough to learn from her throughout my time at MSU. Much of what I’ve learned in journalism and marketing came from her teaching, and I will always be grateful for that. I am lucky to have known her and she will be greatly missed.”
Bucqueroux began teaching at MSU in 1987 with the Department of Criminal Justice and migrated to the School of Journalism in 1995 to serve as the Coordinator of the Victims and the Media program, which educates journalists about victim issues. The program was created to help journalists treat victims and victim issues with sensitivity, dignity and respect. It also helps journalists understand the impact that dealing with trauma can have on victims.
“We will miss Bonnie very much. It was a privilege to know her. She loved students and she loved learning,” said Lucinda Davenport, Director of the School of Journalism. “Bonnie has had a positive influence on the academic progress of many of our students through the many years and the many courses she taught. She taught them the importance of being a journalist and the freedom of the press. And, she was always on the cutting-edge of technology and shared her experiences and knowledge with students and the community.”
Besides teaching, Bucqueroux devoted much of her life to writing and fighting to make our society safer. Since 1998, she had served as the Executive Director of the Crime Victims for a Just Society and was a Consultant on victim issues for the U.S. Department of Justice – Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. She also served as the Executive Director of the Michigan Victims Alliance from 1996-1998.
Sustainable farming was another passion of Bucqueroux, who founded and was the Publisher of the Sustainable Farmer, a website dedicated to providing information about how to grow food with respect for all living things.
A web pioneer, Bucqueroux created what is thought to be the first political campaign website in Michigan campaign history when she ran in 2000 for the 8th Congressional District as a Green Party candidate.
Bucqueroux was the founder, editor and co-publisher of Lansing Online News that serves as an incubator for new ideas about how citizens can work together to produce quality news for the Lansing area community, and she co-hosted the weekly Lansing Online News Radio show on LCC Radio WLNZ (89.7).
In addition, she was the producer of a weekly half-hour show, called Lansing Voices, for Comcast’s Public Media Center (Channel 16), featuring profiles of area residents. Her active YouTube channel has more than 3 million views and features Lansing Voices as well as videos on sustainable agriculture, citizen journalism and local news.
An award-winning journalist, Bucqueroux received a National Magazine Award in 1986 for an article on farmer suicide in the Personal Service Category and was named Writer of the Year by the American Agricultural Editors Association.
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