Ethics and Compassion in Action

A Tribute to Fall Ferguson

The JFK University community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of Fall Ferguson, Chair of the Holistic Health Education program. We are also honored to pay tribute to a passionate educator, activist, and advocate who made a huge impact on our learning community and did so with enthusiasm, intelligence, and humility. 

“Someone once said ‘Character is positive values in action.’ This is what describes Fall Ferguson,” says Charlene Tuckerson, Administrative Director in the College of Undergraduate Studies. “Fall was an intelligent colleague who intentionally lived out her core values of being ethical and compassionate, without regret.”

Professor Ferguson started her career at JFKU as a core faculty member in the Holistic Health Education program in 2010. Prior to teaching at the University she had also graduated from the master’s program in Holistic Health Education, after switching gears from a career in employment law. Professor Ferguson taught a range of health education courses including courses in health and wellness coaching, community and cultural health, and electives focusing on body image. In 2015, Ferguson became chair of the program. She was integral in developing a new Holistic Health Coaching Certificate program and was also in the process of developing a bachelor’s degree program in Holistic Health Education. 

Passionate about a holistic model of health education, Ferguson emphasized the links between physical, emotional, and social aspects of health. In a Top Minds video on holiday eating, she advised the JFKU community to let go of judgment around what we were eating for the holidays and instead to raise our awareness of the connection with others that occurs around the eating. She reminded us that the most important thing we can do for our health and wellbeing is, in fact, to connect with others.

From the interpersonal to the instructive to the administrative, Professor Ferguson’s influence could and still can be felt at all levels of the University. As Committee Chair of the Academic Standards and Curriculum Committee on the Faculty Senate, she was instrumental in approving, overseeing, and orchestrating all major changes to academic programs at JFKU. She also took a leadership role in creating a university-wide syllabi template.

“I asked her to serve on every committee that I could because of her attention to detail, her strong work ethic, and her incredible intelligence,” says Lisa Hutton, Associate Dean of the College of Law and former President of the Faculty Senate. “She had a gift of being able to see the big picture and at the same time break it down and explain it in manageable pieces. She was truly a teacher, even to faculty. She was always pleasant and never off-putting in her work. She was kind and generous in her time and in her love for the students and the University.”

“Fall was able to successfully transition from the legal field to the Holistic Health environment, but when it came to an attention to detail, the attorney in her came through loud and clear,” echoes Michael Graney-Mulholland, Dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies. She was a conscientious and caring individual. “She was my friend and colleague and I am going to miss her.”

From her students and colleagues here at the University, to the many clients and communities she worked with as a health coach, educator, and advocate, Professor Ferguson’s work has left a lasting and positive impact on the JFKU community and beyond. Even as we mourn the parting of ways with the individual that she was, we can take heart that her work is still very much alive in the world.