Southwestern Oregon Community College faculty and staff members and community members came together Aug. 14 to celebrate the legacy of Helen Ferguson – a long-time Southwestern faculty member who was instrumental in the creation of the College – in a dedication ceremony.
Nearly 30 individuals attended the event to commemorate Ferguson’s contributions to Southwestern with the dedication of the Helen Ferguson Memorial benches in the quad area of the Southwestern campus. Southwestern President Dr. Judith Hansen said it was fitting to place the benches in the quad area because it represents the center of the Coos Bay campus, and also the place where the current campus began. The benches were donated to the Southwestern Foundation, which coordinated their placement. A plaque commemorating Ferguson and the donation will be mounted permanently in that area.
It honors not only Southwestern, our students and our faculty and staff, but also our strong history here on the South Coast.”
“It honors not only Southwestern, our students and our faculty and staff, but also our strong history here on the South Coast,” Hansen said, adding that Ferguson’s hard work led to the creation of Southwestern – one of the South Coast’s gems. “We have a treasure, a very special treasure. Thank you for honoring that treasure with us.”
Several individuals who spoke at the event looked at Ferguson as a mentor. They included long-time friend Jevanna as well as Vice President of Administrative Services Dr. Sheldon Meyer, Director of Health Occupations Barbara Davey and long-time Business Department faculty member Bob Miller.
Ferguson was involved in the establishment of Southwestern and taught business at the college for 20 years, beginning in 1961. Her office was located in Randolph Hall on the Coos Bay campus, and she was active as a student advisor and yoga instructor. There, she served as a mentor and inspiration to many.
“Yoga made such a difference for me,” Jevanna said. “It just changed my life, and she was my first yoga teacher. I am eternally grateful for Helen’s influence on my life because she was my first mentor.”