Indiana State University Newsroom

University diversity officer named

March 31, 2009

Mary Ferguson, a native of St. Louis with an extensive background in both K-12 and higher education, has been named university diversity officer at Indiana State University.

"Once I came to campus and completed my interviews, I knew I wanted this job. From the students to the President, everyone I talked to showed a great commitment and passion about diversity at ISU. I also was impressed by the way community members participated in the search process," said Ferguson.

For the past four years, Ferguson has served as senior research analyst in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), where she has taught graduate education courses since 2004. She also has taught communications courses at Webster University since 1997 and has served as a consultant on diversity at the local and national levels.

"I am pleased to have Mary Ferguson join Indiana State and look forward to working with her to expand our diversity efforts. Her social justice background, experience in teaching and work in developing community partnerships will serve us well," said Daniel J. Bradley, president of Indiana State University.

Previously, Ferguson has served as the director of community policy and the racial equity collaborative for FOCUS St. Louis, as a researcher and facilitator trainer for the Anti-Defamation League's A World of Difference Institute and as senior program facilitator for youth, family and community development with the American Youth Foundation. She also has 13 years of experience in public K-12 education, including six years with the St. Louis Public School system working to develop partnerships and alliances with the arts, business and industry, city government and police and social service agencies.

She is completing her Ph.D. in social justice education at the UMSL this spring. She also earned a master's in urban studies from Occidental College in Los Angeles and a bachelor's in history from UMSL.

While working on her doctorate, Ferguson helped launch a social justice education emphasis in the master's and doctoral education programs at UMSL.

Ferguson's position at Indiana State resulted from a reorganization that separated the diversity responsibilities from those of affirmative action compliance. Ferguson will serve on the President's Council and will report to the ISU president through Teresa Exline, executive assistant to the president for internal relations. She will begin her responsibilities July 1.

"Diversity makes life richer for all of us. I can't think of more satisfying work than watching the transformation that happens to people, their lives, and their communities when they begin to notice and nurture our human connections," said Ferguson.

Ferguson and her husband, Larry Clark, plan to move to Terre Haute this summer. Clark is a teaching artist specializing in photography and sculpting. Ferguson has one daughter, Isis Ferguson, who lives and works in Chicago. Her other interests include the arts, reading, gardening and traveling.

Contact: Teresa Exline, executive assistant to the president for internal relations, Indiana State University, 812-237-7783 or