A-B Tech lost a devoted supporter and friend when Jack Ray Ferguson passed away May 6. Jack and his wife, Carolyn, began their charitable giving to A-B Tech in 1999 with a pledge to support the Foundation through three charitable remainder trusts.
The Fergusons have a long history of involvement with the College, dating back to 1959 when A-B Tech was established. As a salesman at Lowe’s, Jack Ferguson worked closely with the builders who constructed and remodeled campus buildings. The couple’s two daughters graduated from A-B Tech’s Nursing program, and both their sons attended the College.
“This is a humble tribute to a man who has made such a big difference in our community. The Fergusons are the kind of donors who truly give from the heart and were a delight to work with and get to know. Mr. Ferguson was a one-of-a-kind gem and will be missed greatly,” said Amanda Edwards, Executive Director for College Advancement. A-B Tech has donated a memorial to the Baptist Children’s Home in Clyde in honor of Mr. Ferguson.
Beginning with the creation of Charitable Remainder Trusts, the Fergusons’ support of A-B Tech grew to include endowed scholarships and general support. By 2012, the couple’s gifts to the College had exceeded the $1 million mark, easily the largest donations in the school’s history. Their generous contributions supported not only the College’s students but the larger community, as well.
Jack Ferguson gave his time serving on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. His guiding voice helped direct A-B Tech through a sustained period of growth for more than 20 years. Their generosity over the years also supported Ferguson Auditorium and the faculty development fund.
Upon gifting more than $5 million dollars to A-B Tech in April 2013, Jack Ferguson said, “What we do for our young people is our hope for tomorrow.” These funds were used to equip the Ferguson Center for Allied Health and Workforce Development, a state-of-the-art building that opened for classes in 2016. The Fergusons also presented a gift of $100,000 for four additional endowed scholarships.
“Knowing this building will help so many students find careers in healthcare is a dream come true for us,” said Carolyn Ferguson. “Our daughters graduated from A-B Tech with nursing degrees and our goal is to provide future generations of students with that same opportunity.”
Jack and Carolyn Ferguson were named the 2002 Outstanding Philanthropists by the WNC Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. There were also acknowledged by the Council for Resource Development as 2013 Benefactors of the Year.