University of Connecticut alum and former 2003-2004 editor in chief for the Daily Campus Courtney Hickson, 36, died Wednesday, Feb. 7 after being involved in a car collision, according to the Associated Press.
Hickson, a resident of Rye, New Hampshire graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2004 with a degree in journalism and political science. She served as the news editor, and later on as the editor in chief for The Daily Campus in the 2003-2004 academic year, said Hickson’s classmate Meghan Bard, class of 2003.
During her time at UConn, Hickson was bold in her writing and her journalism, and worked as the news editor before taking over as editor in chief, Bard said.
“Courtney was absolutely devoted to the DC when she was at UConn. She was always willing to stand up for what she believed in, and she didn’t take sh*t from anyone,” Bard said. “I always thought the Shakespeare quote ‘though she be but little, she be fierce’ was an apt description of her.”
Hickson’s devotion to The Daily Campus truly showed when she brought the paper through financial difficulties that threatened its status as a student-run newspaper, said Jason Jakubowski, 2003-2005 DC Board Chairman, who served when Hickson was editor in chief.
“The Daily Campus would probably not exist today were it not for Courtney Hickson. Courtney led the paper during a very difficult time. Both financially and structurally, things were so bad that the university was literally in position to take over the paper – which would have eradicated its independence,” Jakubowski said. “But Courtney worked with a group of us on the board and the university’s CFO to restructure the Daily Campus’ operations and finances, and in the process she preserved its 120-year legacy of independent journalism.”
Hickson was a double major in political science and journalism, and worked with the journalism department during her time at the newspaper, and as a student, said journalism emeritus Marcel Dufresne.
"We at the Journalism Department are very saddened by Courtney Hickson's death,” Dufresne said. “She was an excellent student and she made a significant contribution to the campus community at The Daily Campus, first as a news writer, then in several editing positions, and eventually as editor in chief. She was a serious journalist who was committed to covering important issues on campus.”
Journalism department head Maureen Croteau complimented Hickson’s “considerable grace” in handling The Daily Campus’ financial issues during her tenure, and said she was “heartbroken” at the news of her passing.
“Courtney was a terrific young woman, with great curiosity and what seemed to be endless energy,” Croteau said. “We were very proud to know that she had chosen to study and practice communications law.”
Hickson, after she graduated in 2004, went on to attend the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and was currently working as an attorney at the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable, Bard said.
Also an avid runner, Hickson helped raised over $4,000 for the Endometriosis Foundation of America, according her fundraising page for the organization.
Colleagues describes Hickson as “a mentor” and described the sense of camaraderie and friendship she brought to the newsroom.
“Courtney's always been a dynamic personality, someone who could match wits with anyone without losing a beat. Sometimes we got on each others' nerves. Even though Courtney was an only child, I felt like her sibling sometimes. She held The Daily Campus in high regard, like we all did,” said Chris Gillon, who was Courtney’s associate news editor in 2002-2003.
“Learning about her death on Thursday shook me to the core,” Gillon said. “All her former colleagues at the paper feel like we were robbed of someone really special, and that's going to take a long time to process.”
Her leadership and devotion to the Daily Campus helped it become a hub for students, and even a second home to some, said Adam Leech, who chaired the board of directors for the newspaper when Hickson was editor in chief.
“Courtney was in many ways the heart of the newsroom...She was a devoted friend who always had time for the people she cared about. As editor of the newsroom for the whole year, she reveled in the camaraderie and appreciated the evolution more than anyone,” Leech said.
Overall, Hickson cared deeply for accurate journalism, her writers and The Daily Campus as a whole.
“I have worked both for and with dozens of editors over the years,” Jakubowski said. “Courtney Hickson was hands-down the best.”
Courtney Hickson’s funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. February 13, 2018 at St. Theresa Parish, 815 Central Rd., Rye, NH. All those attending the funeral mass are asked to go directly to the church. The burial will be private.
Molly Stadnicki, current editor in chief, contributed to this article.
Marlese Lessing is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @marlese_lessing.