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May 25, 2007

Sigma Xi Deputy Director Evan Ferguson Succumbs to Cancer Evan R. Ferguson

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Retired Sigma Xi Deputy Executive Director Evan R. Ferguson, 63, lost a long, courageous battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma May 24 at his home near Siler City, North Carolina.

Known as Mr. Sigma Xi, he was widely recognized for his commitment and dedication to Sigma Xi's traditions and mission. His insights into the Society's history were crucial to understanding and realizing its potential. In his 24 years on the staff, Ferguson's combination of perspective and good nature was a mainstay for members, staff and the Society as a whole. He retired in 2006.

For many years his main areas of responsibility included Sigma Xi's educational activities on both the undergraduate and K-12 levels. More recently, Ferguson managed the five primary program areas at the Sigma Xi Center: research ethics, science and engineering education, the public understanding of science, international networking and the health of the research enterprise. He also served as acting executive director in 2001-02.

A native of Nebraska and Pennsylvania, he was a 1961 graduate of Hatboro-Horsham High School in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Ferguson received his A.B. in biology at Lafayette College, his M.S. in zoology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Ph.D. in physiology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine from 1976-1978, after which he joined the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas as a research assistant professor of medicine and director of the Cell Physiology Laboratories at the Veterans Administration Medical Center. His career also included serving as a research scientist at Warner-Lambert Research Institute in Morris Plains, New Jersey. In 1982, he joined the staff of Sigma Xi in New Haven, Connecticut. The organization subsequently relocated its headquarters to Research Triangle Park in 1990.

In his spare time, he enjoyed working outdoors and renovating old buildings on his historic 1800s farm in Silk Hope. In his younger years, he was a volunteer fireman in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and a youth hockey coach in Illinois and California. He was a wildlife enthusiast, a fan of professional sports, a collector of Oldies music and a lover of dogs, particularly Labrador Retrievers.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Carol A. Ferguson; son, Scott T. Ferguson, and wife, Anne, of Brooklyn, New York; daughter, Kim F. Budde, and husband, Lauren, of Wilmington, North Carolina; grandsons, Tibeau and Odin Ferguson, of Brooklyn; father, Leonard C. Ferguson, of Burlington, North Carolina; brother, L. Curt Ferguson, and wife, Gail, of McLeansville, North Carolina; sister, Candace S. Ferguson, of Malvern, Pennsylvania; sister, Patti A. Tibbitt, and husband, Jamie, of Ridgley, Maryland; mother-in-law, Caroline F. Garrahan, and husband, John, of Marmora, New Jersey; sister-in-law, Jane M. Whiting, of Mays Landing, New Jersey; nephew, Gabriel Whiting, of Mays Landing; and his two beloved Labradors, Rocko and Millie. He left behind a loving family, friends and colleagues who will miss him enormously.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, 111 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10006. Evan was a strong proponent of the Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research program. If you would like to contribute in his memory to the grants program, please contact Sigma Xis director of development at development@sigmaxi.org or 800-243-6534.

Memorial services to be held at the convenience of family members.


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