MDC Retiree Betty Ferguson Blazes a Trail as Community Activist

Author  John Soto

For Betty Ferguson, civic engagement is a part of her everyday life. She says her passion for service was instilled early on in her 30-year MDC career as a faculty member. resizeimage 67Ferguson remembers being inspired by one of her colleagues, Carrie P. Meek.  In the mid-1960s during desegregation, Meek was an educator and activist who pushed MDC to become an integrated institution. Today, MDC’s entrepreneurial center is named after her.

“I just watched Carrie Meek’s dedication to the community and knew how much the community needed us to be involved,” says Ferguson.

Since then, Ferguson has blazed her own trail as an educator and community organizer.

While Ferguson taught English and speech at MDC, she also became active in her community. She was a county commissioner for over a decade and founded the North Miami-based forum, UP-PAC, which stands for Unrepresented People’s Positive Action Council. Ferguson was instrumental in a variety of initiatives, including her role in incorporating the city of Miami Gardens and pushing for district elections in Miami-Dade County.

A testament to her strong support and dedication to MDC and the community, an Endowed Teaching Chair was named in Ferguson’s honor.

“After 30 years, MDC is like home,” says Ferguson, who returned to MDC for the 2018 Endowed Teaching Chair awards ceremony in December. She had the opportunity to personally congratulate the winner of the Betty T. Ferguson Endowed Teaching Chair, Dr. Larry M. Frolich.

“I was inspired to meet the next generation of MDC faculty who are doing amazing work, and I am very honored that someone would name an Endowed Chair after me,” says Ferguson. “Because of it, I have the chance to be a part of MDC’s future,” says Ferguson.

Ferguson retired from MDC in 2001, but her engagement with the College and her community has not slowed down.

“We have to be at the table even if we don’t like what we see so our voice can be heard. Our contribution, however small, can turn out to be instrumental,” says Ferguson. “I was lucky to be surrounded by people who believed that throughout my career, and MDC always supported me.”