Volume 9, Issue 1
Alice Ferguson enters doctoral program
By Megan Hargroder
Students and faculty in Communication are bidding farewell to one of the unit’s most popular faculty members, as visual communication instructor Alice Ferguson plans a hiatus from the campus she has known most of her life.
“I came here in 1969 when my dad came to teach and study. He worked in V.L. Wharton and Burke-Hawthorne halls, so I would often hang around the theater or TV studio after completing my school day at Hamilton Lab School (now Hamilton Hall). Burke-Hawthorne’s backstage area and the sound booth in Wharton’s TV studio have both changed quite a bit, but the studio’s spiral staircase still remains from the old days,” she said.
Ferguson received her Bachelor of Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in Radio/TV/Film with a minor in Photojournalism. She returned to UL Lafayette for graduate school in 1990, and received her master's in Communication in 1992. In 1999 she joined the adjunct faculty and then joined the full-time faculty in 2004 — the same year her son enrolled in the university.
“What a family history on campus, eh?” said Ferguson.
Now, Ferguson will return to USM's School of Mass Communication and Journalism to pursue her doctorate — something she has wanted to do for many years now.
“Getting this degree has always been a major goal, and the time is finally right to achieve it now that my son is nearly finished with his undergraduate career. Plus, now that I am – ahem – Past 40, I feel I should complete the terminal degree while I’m still young enough to enjoy it for a few years!” Ferguson said.
Ferguson has a long list of people she says she will miss at UL Lafayette.
”Besides all my students, advisees and colleagues, I have to say I will miss these folks most (in no particular order): (a) UL’s Physical Plant staff, especially Ms. Bernice, our awesome 'building boss' in Burke and Wharton halls, and Mr. Leonard Wiltz’s Fabulous Campus Moving Crew; (b) Ms. Barbara and all the ladies (and gentlemen) who serve up the chow in the Student Union’s eateries (all of them) – because they are always so nice, I feel like I’ve gone home to Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner; (c) Bette Harris, Susie Roy and all the other awesome folks in the Junior Division, for the great support they’ve provided over the years to my advisees and me. If UL had a nickel for every time the Junior Division folks stepped up to do something cool on behalf of students and advisors, we could afford 10 parking garages!”
Quoting the famous Nike slogan, Ferguson said that the best advice she could give students considering pursuing a higher degree would be to just do it!“Take a few years off if you need a break from school, but go back someday for those advanced degrees. You will learn more than you can possibly imagine (and not just about your chosen subject). The experience of graduate school will also convince you (quite rightly) you can survive anything,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson has served as acting department head, and the present interim head, Dr. Bill Davie, says he hopes the school can bring Ferguson back after she finishes her Ph.D. program in Hattiesburg. “Both Dr. Mike Maher and I signed letters on her behalf, and our hope is that another school doesn’t hire her before we have a chance to win Alice back once she becomes ‘Dr. Ferguson’,” said Davie.