All in the family for SOM class speaker Ferguson

School of Medicine class speaker to graduate alongside his wife

By Lisa Larson and Bryan Goodchild

UMass Medical School Communications

May 31, 2012

Commencement 2012 will be a family affair for James “Jay” Ferguson and Elizabeth “Beth” O’Connor Ferguson, as the happy couple graduates together from UMass Worcester on June 3.

Jay Ferguson, 27, class speaker for the School of Medicine, will accept his MD and head to Brown University for a residency in internal medicine. Beth O’Connor Ferguson, also 27, will earn her master’s degree from the Graduate School of Nursing and become a nurse educator.

“We are very blessed to have each other and a healthy 3-month-old son, James Michael Jr.,” said Jay, who met his wife at Boston College where they both earned their undergraduate degrees. “Everything couldn’t have worked out better.”

“I graduated from college with Jay and our BC five-year reunion will actually be on the same weekend, so we’re going to be busy,” said Beth. “This time around I think that graduation day will be a lot more emotional because our beautiful baby boy will be there.”

Jay is following in his father’s footsteps. Robert K. Ferguson, MD, practices internal medicine in Millbury.

“I have always been interested in the sciences and my dad made me naturally curious about his profession,” Jay said. “As I was considering careers, my dad was very much a role model for me.”

UMass Medical School was the perfect career springboard, he said, as he opted to focus on primary care. “You learn to care for the whole person, and that’s something that really resonated with me,” he said.

He was thrilled to be chosen class speaker. “What a wonderful honor for me,” he said. “UMass has been a terrific experience—from the engaging administration to the great faculty to my fantastic classmates.”

Beth said they’ve spent so much time in school that they sometimes saw each other on campus more often than home.

“I was able to truly see firsthand the hard work Jay put into his studies,” she said. “He could not be a better student, husband or father and I know he will be an outstanding doctor. I am going to be bursting with pride on Sunday.”

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Commencement, part 1: 39th Commencement marks endings and beginnings
Commencement, part 2: UMMS faculty forge strong bonds with Liberia
Commencement, part 3: Honorary degrees strengthen Commencement tradition.
Commencement, part 4: Muthee personifies the American dream
Commencement, part 5: A wedding and a graduation for GSBS speaker Allison Keeler