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George O. Ferguson

By Frank Chamberlain

George Oliver Ferguson was a pioneer faculty member at Tarleton for thirty-seven years. He was a lifelong Erath county resident who attended John Tarleton College from its opening year of 1899 until 1901. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas in 1907, and his master’s from the University of Chicago in 1917.

Ferguson was hired at his alma mater in 1913 as a professor and as head of the department of history and economics. He also taught Spanish, German, and sociology on occasion. In 1920, Ferguson was promoted to the position of Associate Dean and registrar of the college. These were tough days for Tarleton, and its future seemed very bleak. In fact, the faculty at this time was often forced to go without pay for months at a time. Then-president James Cox later credited the dedicated faculty (including Ferguson) with allowing the school to maintain operations.

Ferguson continued his service at Tarleton as Associate Dean for the next three decades until 1946. At that time he was given the status of Associate Dean Emeritus and entered a period of semi-retirement. During this time he continued to teach economics courses until reaching full retirement in 1950.

In 1959, college officials dedicated a newly built men’s dormitory to honor Ferguson. This new dorm was named Ferguson Hall and remains a vital part of campus housing. It is a fitting tribute to a man who had dedicated so much of his life to Tarleton students.

Ferguson continued to reside on his ranch southwest of Stephenville after his retirement. He passed away in April of 1963 and is buried in the West End cemetery near the campus.

“Funeral Services Held for G.O. Ferguson, 81”, Stephenville Empire-Tribune, April 12, 1963.

“Prof. Emeritus Honored as New Dormitory Named”, The J-TAC, April 29, 1958.