December 18, 2012,
Volume 59, No. 16
Ms. Ferguson, Nursing
Ms. Vernice D. Ferguson, former member of the Penn Nursing Board of Overseers and its first director of diversity and cultural affairs, passed away December 8 at age 84.
Ms. Ferguson was a senior fellow at Penn Nursing, holding the Fagin Family Term Chair in Cultural Diversity from 1993 to 1997. In addition to serving on the Penn Nursing Board of Overseers from 2000 to 2007, she was also a frequent visitor to Penn Nursing where she mentored faculty and students, gave lectures and was the speaker at its 1991 graduation ceremony.
“In all of her roles, Vernice was the consummate nurse and colleague who was the voice and conscience for inclusion of diversity in every aspect of our mission, said Dr. Afaf I. Meleis, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing. “She challenged us to envision and create a world that was more ethical and that valued diversity in all its forms. She was compassionate and caring with all whom she interacted and was behind many of our initiatives in diversity that made us a model for the University.”
Early on, Ms. Ferguson pursued a tireless career of public service. She had been a science teacher in the Baltimore school system and then head nurse of the Neoplastic Metabolic Research Unit at Montefiore Hospital in Baltimore. From 1972-1980, she served as chief of the nursing department at the Clinical Center, at the National Institutes of Health. She then became assistant chief medical director for nursing programs and director of nursing service of the US Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, from 1980-1992.
She held leadership positions in numerous nursing service organizations, including the American Academy of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International and the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care. Her honors and awards were numerous, including eight honorary doctorate degrees, the R. Louise McManus Medal for Distinguished Service to Nursing, the National League for Nursing’s Jean MacVicar Outstanding Nurse Executive Award and the American Nurses Association’s prestigious Mary Mahoney Award besides being designated as a “Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nursing.
She was an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom, the second American nurse so honored. In 2008, Ms. Ferguson was the first nurse to be awarded the Freddie Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous honorees include Bill and Melinda Gates and Christopher Reeve. Most recently, she served on the Quality Care Committee of the Bon Secours Health Care System, the Independence Foundation’s Advisory Committee on Nurse Managed Primary Health Care Initiative and the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Advisory Committee. She also was immediate past chairman of the Nova Foundation of the Nurses Organization of the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Her other teaching appointments included the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Illinois, Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.
Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Ms. Ferguson received her BS and nursing certificate from New York University and Bellevue Nursing Center in 1950. She earned a master’s degree from Columbia University Teacher’s College in 1957.
Ms. Ferguson is survived by her sister, Velma O. Ferguson; and six nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at the New York University College of Nursing, March 9 at 10 a.m. For details call, (212) 998-5300.
Contact the NYU College of Nursing for details at (212) 998-5300.
Related: New Soul, New Voice by Dr. Afaf I. Meleis, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing
Mr. Steinberg, Emeritus Trustee
Mr. Saul P. Steinberg, W’59, Emeritus Trustee and Chair Emeritus of the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School, passed away December 7 at age 73.
Viewing his own support of charitable causes as “an investment in humanity”, Mr. Steinberg gave generously to Penn of his time, energy and expertise. He was always motivated by a belief in the University’s greatness and by the desire to help it realize its full potential. As a Trustee since 1984, Mr. Steinberg served on the Executive Committee, Long-Range Planning Committee, Facilities and Campus Planning Committee, Internationalization Committee and Nominating Committee, and was vice chairman of the Development Committee.
As co-chair of the Campaign for Penn in the early 1990s, Mr. Steinberg convinced University leadership to raise the campaign goal from eight hundred million to one billion dollars, an ambitious figure he then helped Penn to exceed. His contributions as chair of the Wharton School’s Board of Overseers from 1987 to 1999 were equally inspiring and significant.
Mr. Steinberg’s allegiance to Wharton led him first to endow the Wharton deanship as the Reliance Professorship of Management and Private Enterprise and then to provide the lead gift to renovate and expand the School’s home into Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall. His creation of the Wharton-Reliance Symposium proved to be a watershed event for the School (Almanac June 14, 1979), attracting outstanding scholars and leaders in government and global business.
Mr. Steinberg recognized the need to develop a leading executive education program and provided funding for what became the Steinberg Conference Center.
A philanthropist, Mr. Steinberg endowed professorships and fellowships at the Wharton School, the School of Arts & Sciences and the Perelman School of Medicine. He founded the PEN at Penn program (Almanac October 13, 1987), which brought literary giants and other luminaries to Penn’s campus as Steinberg Fellows. He also was a former member of the Board of Overseers of Penn Design.
A dynamic and visionary businessperson, Mr. Steinberg was the founder of Reliance Group Holdings, Inc., a New York City-based insurance holding company that he started in 1961 as the Leasco Data Processing Equipment Corporation. A computer-leasing pioneer that Mr. Steinberg conceived of as a Wharton senior, Leasco grew rapidly through the 1960s and acquired the considerably larger Reliance Insurance Company in 1968, beginning its evolution into a financial services company. Mr. Steinberg acquired CTI in 1972 and built it into the largest container leasing company in the world. He also served on the boards of Symbol Technologies, Inc., and Zenith National Insurance Corp. and created the Spanish-language television station Telemundo.
Broadly active in civic and cultural affairs in New York, Mr. Steinberg served as a life overseer of Weill Cornell Medical College, a life trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, a director of the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and an honorary trustee of the New York Public Library.
Mr. Steinberg was born in Brooklyn on August 13, 1939, and moved with his family to Long Island as a youth. His father, Julius, operated a factory that made bathmats. Mr. Steinberg entered the Wharton School at 16 and graduated at 19.
Mr. Steinberg is survived by his wife, the former Gayfryd McNabb; daughters, Laura and Holden; sons, Jonathan, Nicholas, Julian and Rayne; his brother, Robert; his sisters, Roni Sokoloff and Lynda Jurist; and five grandchildren.