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Bullough, Bonnie (1927-1996) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Bullough, Bonnie (1927-1996)

Historical Note:

Bonnie Bullough's childhood can appropriately be called tumultuous. Having never met her biological father, she was shunted from relative to relative for her first few years. Shortly before her 4th birthday, while living with her mother, she was badly burned. After 1935, she had access to corrective surgery and spent several summers in the local children’s hospital. The family moved to Salt Lake City as she was entering junior high school. Shortly thereafter, her mother abandoned the family to live in a committed relationship with another woman. Her step-father took his biological children but he left Bonnie to be adopted by an uncle.

She and her future husband, Vern, met in debate club in high school. Soon after graduation in 1944, Bonnie joined the Cadet Nurse Corps. In 1947, she and Vern eloped to Reno. Bonnie worked as an operating room nurse and then as a public health nurse in the Chicago Public Health Department. She had earned her bachelor’s degree by 1955, and in 1959 the family moved to California where Bonnie completed her education earning a master’s degree in nursing as well as a second master’s and a Ph.D. in sociology.

Bonnie had a distinguished career having authored several books and articles on nursing, sociology, and human sexuality, often with her husband. She progressed up the ladder of academia: instructor, professor, chair, and dean. She is also responsible for the first nurse practitioner program in California, beginning at UCLA in 1968. In 1974 while at Cal State Long Beach she was put in charge of a consortium of colleges and universities to coordinate nurse practitioner education. From 1979-1989 she was Dean of the School of Nursing at SUNY Buffalo. Her husband accompanied her to Buffalo until their retirement and return to California in 1993. Bonnie had a chronic illness which left her prone to infections of the lungs. She had a series of these infections early in 1996 from which she never quite recovered passing away April 12, 1996.

Sources: Bullough, Vern L. "Bonnie Bullough: In Memoriam." Western Journal of Nursing Research 18, no. 5 (October 1996): 497. Accessed February 3, 2017. General OneFile.

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