UT Relay for Life honoring beloved journalism professor ‘Bonnie Blue Pen’

Positively Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — She was a beloved and respected journalism instructor for 31 years at the University of Tennessee. Bonnie Hufford earned the nickname “Bonnie Blue Pen” because of her tough but fair editing classes, and she loved it. She loved life.

Sadly, Bonnie died of cancer last fall. Saturday, April 10, there is a tribute for Bonnie at UT’s Relay for Life. You can support it by purchasing a luminaria in Bonnie’s memory or for someone in your life who has battled cancer.

Hufford was the face of UT’s Relay for Life. Proud to replace her orange and white with the event’s signature purple, she dressed up as a pirate for the cause and got her Relay team to do the same.

“She had so much fun with it,” said friend, cancer survivor and ACS volunteer Michael Holtz. “Her students in the College of Communications loved forming teams and hanging out with her at Relay. She just loved it.”

Michael got Bonnie to lead the charge in bringing Relay for Life to campus more than 15 years ago.

Bonnie knew what it was like to have cancer. She wasn’t afraid to talk about it.

“From her leukemia to multiple myeloma, seems like (she was) always in treatment for something or even when she went in remission,” Michael recalls. “She went in remission a couple of times with leukemia, but it always seemed to be short-lived.”

Michael and another of Bonnie’s longtime friends say she was both mother and mentor.

“I credit my career to her,” Fatima Hyder said.

Hyder aced Bonnie’s tough editing class when she was a student at UT, which led to her career as a technical editor for an environmental consulting company in Oak Ridge.

Bonnie’s sincere smile and her strength are a lasting memory for many.

“I think her strength came from her family and her friends,” Hyder said. “It came from knowing she was loved by so many people.”

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