Grace Church’s Ferguson/McGovern Scholarship at CF
By Eleanor Simons Grace Church has an endowed memorial scholarship at the College of Central Florida that is available to students who are planning to work in healthcare. Preference is given to students who are members of Grace Church or are Episcopalians. This scholarship has an interesting history. It began in 1959 with a donation of $3,000 to start an endowment fund. In 1964 another gift of $5,000 was given in memory of Dr. Robert Ferguson, Jr. to students studying nursing. “Bob” Ferguson was a member of Grace Church from 1892 to 1947. Dr. McGovern came to Ocala to take over Dr. Ferguson’s practice in 1947. In addition to practicing medicine he was a founder of the Marion Medical Center, president of the Marion County Medical Society, and president of the Munroe Memorial Hospital medical staff. In the 1970’s the endowment’s value was $20,000. In 1989 the Rector and the Vestry decided to turn the funds over to Central Florida Community College for nursing student scholarships, later expanded to healthcare studies. Since 1989 44 scholarships have been awarded to students. Today the endowment is worth $54,500.
This past year students receiving these scholarships have written letters. One student said, “You have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus on the most important aspect of school, learning. One day I hope I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.” Another student said, “I can never thank you enough for the financial assistance. This will allow me to achieve my dreams of becoming an oncology nurse.”
A small donation given in 1959 has grown over the decades. Over the years 44 health care students have benefited from this scholarship. What was started in the past helps students today. Grace Church’s endowment will continue to help healthcare students in the future.