Wednesday, November 4, 2015

In Memoriam: Founding Education Dean Milton Ferguson

Milton FergusonMilton Ferguson, the founding dean of the University of New Orleans College of Education and Human Development, passed away on October 12 at the age of 91. Under his three decades of leadership, he oversaw the creation of degree programs at the bachelor, master’s and doctoral levels.

Ferguson retired from the University of New Orleans in 1985 as dean emeritus. In the 2014-15 academic year, the College of Education and Human Development celebrated its 50th anniversary. Ferguson returned to UNO to join four of the previous nine deans, along with the current dean, to celebrate a half century tradition of preparing educational personnel for metropolitan New Orleans and beyond.

After graduating from Haynesville High School, Ferguson attended Louisiana Tech University. He volunteered for the United States Air Force during World War II, flying 24 missions over Germany as a B-26 combat pilot. During his combat experience, he earned 15 combat medals, including five campaign medals, with two Bronze Stars, the Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters and the Presidential Distinguished Unit Badge. On his return to civilian status Ferguson maintained his military career as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He retired from the military as a lieutenant colonel in 1983.

After World War II, Ferguson received his bachelor and master’s degrees from LSU. He taught school in St. Francisville and Lake Charles before obtaining his doctorate from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Ferguson began working at Louisiana State University in New Orleans (later UNO) in 1960. He became the founding dean of the College of Education in 1964 and went on to serve as the president of the Louisiana Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

Ferguson is survived by his wife Cathy M. Ferguson; sons David L. Ferguson and Thomas D. Ferguson (Linda R.); grandson Wyatt M. Ferguson; stepchildren Gregg S. Brown, Ben M. Browne, Paige Bullock and Robin Dautrieve; 10 step-great-grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Alma Ruth Ferguson, and brother, John E. Ferguson, the “Voice of the Tigers.”

Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the Memorial Service St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 5875 Canal Blvd. New Orleans, on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 11 a.m. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. until service time. Interment will follow in Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Slidell.

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