Bonnie Zimmerman was born in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, and earned PhD in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. She became a founding member of the Women’s Studies College at SUNY Buffalo in 1970, where she created and taught numerous courses in women’s studies, women’s literature, and feminist theory.
Zimmerman has published extensively, including the books, Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia; The New Lesbian Studies: Into the 21st Century; Professions of Desire; Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature; and The Safe Sea of Women: Lesbian Fiction, 1969 to 1989. She has also been an active member of the Modern Language Association and the National Women’s Studies Association, of which she served as president in 1998 and 1999. From 2003 until 2010, she was associate Vice-president of Faculty Affairs, having previously served as the chair of the university senate.