Earlier this month, at the criminally young age of 34, University of Houston journalism professor Jemimah Noonoo passed away. Before committing to the classroom, she had worked for Newsweek, the New York Times and the Houston Chronicle.
Cara Smith, editor-in-chief of UH student newspaper The Daily Cougar, took Noonoo’s class during her freshman 2013-14 year. Over the weekend, she remembered the many great qualities of her teacher and how the course very playfully ended:
On the last day of class, the last day I saw her, Ms. Noonoo had us do a “mock” twenty-year reunion.
“Come to class as who you want to be; who you WILL be,” she told us, that signature fire in her belly. We took advantage of the freedom — among others, Ms. Noonoo was in the presence of three Vogue editors, an environmental lawyer, an E! News anchor, a music journalist living in Austin and a sports journalist living in New York City. During the “reunion,” one by one, we got up and talked about our lives — the lives that Ms. Noonoo desperately wanted us to have, only by virtue of us desperately wanting them.
Noonoo held a B.A. from the University of Illnois-Chicago and a Master’s in journalism from the the University of Missouri-Columbia. She leaves behind a young son. RIP.