On Wednesday, Feb. 7, University of Connecticut alum and former Daily Campus Editor-in-Chief Courtney Hickson passed away after being involved in a car collision. Hickson, who was just 36 years old, worked at the Daily Campus as a news editor and was later Editor-in-Chief from 2003-2004 before graduating UConn with a degree in journalism and political science. During her time as Editor-in-Chief she led the Daily Campus through financial difficulties when it seemed as though the university was in a position to take over the paper. Her dedication to the Daily Campus and efforts to preserve the paper’s independence are credited by those who worked with her as the reason the Daily Campus exists as it does today.
None of us on the Editorial Board had the privilege to meet Courtney Hickson, but nonetheless the manner in which she lived her life has had an impact on ours. The importance of a life cannot be overstated. There are so many ways, big and small, that people influence one another through their actions. For us, and for many of the other employees at the Daily Campus, the actions taken by Courtney more than a decade ago have helped define our lives all these years later.
The Daily Campus might have still existed without her efforts, but the way in which it existed could be drastically different. It is hard for us to imagine having school officials involved in the day-to-day operation of the paper. Being student-run gives us the freedom not only to choose the stories we write but also what positions we take. Additionally the relationships we cultivate at the paper would be drastically different, and it is entirely possible that many of us who have become close friends would never have met, had the paper gone under.
Thankfully, we don’t have to muse the hypotheticals of the aforementioned situation. And we know who we have to thank, though it took her untimely passing to really call attention to it. While we may mourn Courtney’s passing, the best way to honor her memory, at least for us, is to strive to improve the place that she clearly cared about. By continuing to do our best, to not only produce a quality paper and improve our journalistic skills but to also keep making the Daily Campus a place for students to learn, laugh and grow as individuals, we can honor the contributions she has made and continue to pay her efforts forward.