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Chico State

Visionary Staff Member Honored for Leadership of Programs for Historically Underserved Students

Dave Ferguson

The Chico State Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association (ERFSA) is pleased to announce the 2024 Hall of Honors class. Eight renowned faculty and staff members will be inducted into the Hall of Honor on Friday, May 31, 2024, during a ceremony and luncheon. Buy tickets.

Dave Ferguson expanded Chico State’s modest Upward Bound program into one of the most robust in the nation, setting a standard for other campuses to follow and helping hundreds of local students achieve the dream of a college education.

When Ferguson was hired in 1982, he became director of an Upward Bound program that served 50 high school students who were low-income and/or potentially the first in their families to attend college. He saw a tremendous need to serve more local students and applied for additional funding from the federal government, which supports student outreach services such as Upward Bound through its TRIO programs.

Despite a competitive and rigorous process to obtain new federal funds, Chico State was one of the first campuses in the country to earn funding for multiple Upward Bound grants. Today the University serves more than 300 students with four Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science grants, initiated by Ferguson’s vision and direction.

Along with his grant writing and administrative skills, Ferguson was known for his work ethic and inspirational attitude.

“Directing Upward Bound was not Dave’s job, it was his life—he gave his everything to his students and staff and embodied all that a mentor should be,” said Maria Moreno, director of Upward Bound Projects. “It is no wonder that hundreds of Upward Bound students from the last three decades keep in close contact with Dave.”

Ferguson is a past president of the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel, which represents TRIO professionals from Hawaii, California, Nevada, and Arizona and advocates for continued federal funding. Ferguson also served on the Board of Directors of the Council for Opportunity in Education.

For more than 40 years, Ferguson has served as a trainer of TRIO staff and external evaluator of TRIO programs throughout the country. After his 2008 retirement from Chico State, he started directing a US Department of Education TRIO training program at the University of Washington. He has also directed three TRIO training programs granted through Sonoma State.

Matthew Benney, retired associate vice president at Sonoma State and former director of 11 TRIO programs, said, “When I reached that level of national involvement, I found out quickly that most people I met referred to Dave as ‘Mr. TRIO’”.

Ferguson’s community service includes serving on the Heritage Architectural Review Board for the City of Fresno and donating blood (125 platelet donations to date). He is a proud US Air Force veteran who served in the Vietnam War.