Thrasher to be Inducted into College Media Association Hall of Fame
JONESBORO — Bonnie L. Thrasher, former adviser to the Herald at Arkansas State University and former vice president of the College Media Association, will be inducted posthumously into the College Media Association’s John A. Boyd Hall of Fame in October at the Hyatt Regency-Atlanta as part of CMA’s National College Media Convention. Thrasher died March 31, 2015.
“Losing Bonnie was heartbreaking for Arkansas State, for College Media Association, and for the college media industry as a whole. We are glad to celebrate her accomplishments by having her join the Hall of Fame,” said Kelley Lash, CMA president. “I know she would be honored to join this group of distinguished peers.”
“Bonnie devoted her life to her work and to her students,” said Bill Thrasher, Bonnie Thrasher’s father. “We are very happy that other people recognize her efforts and that many people benefited from what she did and how she did it. We are proud that she is being inducted in the Hall of Fame."
For 22 years, Thrasher taught journalism at Arkansas State and advised the student newspaper, The Herald. Before that, she worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers, including the Starkville (Miss.) Daily News and the Columbus (Miss.) Commercial Dispatch. She also served as interim assistant editor of The Jonesboro Sun.
Thrasher was a member of CMA for more than 20 years, and served on the board of directors for five years. Most recently, she served as vice president and coordinated the professionals-in-residence program for the Spring National College Media Convention in New York City.
“Bonnie left an indelible legacy in journalism education at A-State, as a faculty member and adviser to The Herald for more than 20 years,” remarked Dr. Osábuohien Amienyi, chair, Department of Media. “Her former students work in news organizations throughout Arkansas, the Mid-South and across the nation. We in the Department of Media are most grateful that the College Media Association have established this lasting memorial for Bonnie.”
In 2007, the Arkansas Press Association awarded Thrasher its Journalism Educator of the Year award. The Jonesboro Sun newspaper recognized her as a Freedom of Information (FOI) hero in 2010. She served as secretary/treasurer of the Southeast Journalism Conference and was a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, American Copy Editors Society and the Society of Professional Journalists.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Mississippi University for Women in 1983, and her master’s degree in communication from the University of Alabama in 1993.
“The Herald is a better student newspaper because of the hard work and efforts of Bonnie Thrasher,” new Herald adviser and associate professor Sandra Combs added. “The students and newspaper won countless journalism awards under her leadership. She left a void here, but her legacy remains strong at A-State and throughout the nation in the college media community.”
The John A. Boyd Hall of Fame Award is the most prestigious honor given by CMA, recognizing longtime members whose dedication, commitment and sacrifice have contributed to the betterment and value of student media programs of both their campus and the nation. It also recognizes the contributions of members who have devoted extensive and varied service to CMA on committees, the board of directors and other leadership roles and who have presented insightful, relevant and well-prepared programs and sessions.
“Bonnie Thrasher led the Arkansas State University Herald staff as a champion of free speech and expression for more than 20 years,” said Dr. Mary Jackson Pitts, professor of multimedia journalism and a colleague of Thrasher’s for 22 years. “It was obvious the students always came first in learning journalism as a profession and in learning about life as a student journalist. She was an amazing storyteller who taught her students the techniques of telling a story, of getting the information right and of publishing material that might not always make people feel comfortable.”
Those considered for this award must have contributed to college journalism education for 20 years or more while being an active member of CMA. To learn more and to register for CMA’s National Media Convention, go to http://cmaatl16.org.