Alumni Days at Shakespeare, June 2014.
Doug Bonzo is an SUU alumnus, beloved high school English teacher and now happily retired in Cedar City, Utah.
Born July 16, 1932, in Cedar City to James E. and Eliza Reese Bonzo, Doug attended Iron County schools, graduating from Cedar High in 1950. He served an LDS mission to France and the Northwestern States and later studied at the College of Southern Utah. Doug earned a bachelor’s degree from BYU, a specialist teacher certificate from USC and a master’s degree in English education from the University of Illinois. His 48-year teaching career included stops at the Los Angeles City Schools, Tooele Middle School and finally Cedar High School, where he taught for 29 years. He was also a part-time teacher and evening adjunct instructor at SUU, and volunteered at Fiddlers Elementary.
Doug’s teaching philosophy, something he developed early in his career, can be summarized in four words: Firm, Fair, Friendly and Flexible. A master in “reading” students, he recognized hidden potential and graded students on what they were willing and able to do. Many a pupil has gratefully commented, “Mr. Bonzo knew what we could do when we didn’t even know ourselves, and then got it out of us.”
Emily Dickinson is Doug’s favorite poet and was a mainstay in his classrooms by virtue of her juxtaposition of words that speak to us today. One of his favorite Emily poems:
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –
Doug served on numerous boards, commissions and committees, most notably the Sterling Scholar Area Executive Committee for 25 years. Distinguished honors bestowed him include Iron County Teacher of the Year, PDK Educator of the Year (twice) and the Power of the Dream Award.
He and his beloved wife Theresa Lorraine Polk, who passed away in 2000, are the proud parents of one son and three grandchildren.
In recognition of an illustrious career in education that profoundly influenced the lives of his students for the better, Doug was presented with the 2013 Carmen Rose Hepworth Award at SUU’s annual Thunderbird Awards Ceremony.