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Fergusons Support USM Students Through Estate Gift

Fri, 12/17/2021 - 10:46am | By: Hayley Taylor

Emma “Ena” Thaxton Ferguson earned her master’s degree in elementary education from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) in 1978. Through their estate plans, she and her husband, Larry W. Ferguson, named USM as one of three beneficiaries of a trust, along with two other universities.

USM received $661,859 to establish the Emma "Ena" Thaxton Ferguson and Larry Ferguson Scholarship Endowment through the USM Foundation. This scholarship will support students with financial need, regardless of major.

Emma was particularly appreciative of the learning experience afforded to her by the Master of Education program at Southern Miss, which allowed her to touch the lives of countless children across the United States throughout her career. After careful consideration, Larry and Emma decided they wanted to invest in students who might face financial obstacles in their pursuit of an education.

“It is clear both Larry and Emma believed in the power of education,” said Stace Mercier, executive director of the USM Foundation. “They leave quite a legacy, as their benevolence will provide assistance for students to gain a high-caliber, yet affordable, education who might not otherwise be financially able to attend college.”

Founded in 1959, the USM Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to serving the University community by overseeing fundraising efforts to raise private support for scholarships and other academic needs at Southern Miss.

For more information on supporting The University of Southern Mississippi, call the USM Foundation at 601.266.5210 or visit