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USAO bids farewell to education professors


Headshots of Dr. Jeanne Mather (left) and Dr. Vicki Ferguson (right)

USAO bids farewell to education professors

 

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma bids a fond farewell to two beloved education faculty, retiring after decades of service to USAO. Dr. Vicki Ferguson, director of teacher education, professor and chair of education and speech-language pathology; and Dr. Jeanne Mather, professor of education, are set to retire Aug. 7 and July 31, respectively. 

A reception was held recently to celebrate the years of wonderful work that both Ferguson and Mather have put into their classes and extracurricular activities. Faculty and staff gathered over refreshments to share fond memories of the two professors and congratulate them on everything they have done for the university.

Ferguson has been a full-time member of the USAO faculty since 1988 after previously serving as instructor in mathematics from 1975-80 and adjunct faculty from 1987-88. She is on the advisory board of A+ Oklahoma Schools and is the president-elect of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. Ferguson raised three children in Chickasha and served as a Girl Scout leader for 10 years. She earned her Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Oklahoma in 1993.

“When I was first blessed with the opportunity to spread my love of mathematics at USAO, I was a newlywed with no children,” said Ferguson. “During the time I was raising my family, USAO’s existence was threatened. I then realized the value of the college to the community and to me personally. When I returned as faculty in education, I grew to appreciate the college’s impact beyond the campus, particularly how preparing others to be teachers is like sowing magic seeds that continue to grow beyond our imagination. I hope my small contribution to USAO reflects the blessing it has been to me.”

Mather has been a member of the USAO education faculty since 1990 and is a leader in multicultural education and service learning. In 2015, she received the Multicultural Citizen of the Year award and was recognized for Outstanding Human Rights Achievement by the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance. In 2016, she received the Regents Award for Superior Teaching. Mather is a co-founder of the “Books for Tots” program, which has distributed over 101,000 new books to needy children since its inception in 1998. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1994. 

“In my time at USAO, I have attempted to provide my students and the community with new insights into other cultures and how diversity is an important aspect in understanding individuals, one that should be respected and valued,” said Mather. “What successes I have had—in projects as diverse as Building a Legacy, Read Across America, the Syrian Care Bear Project and more—are only because of the remarkable place I have worked and the supportive community in which it resides.”