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RGU alumnus Ivor Ferguson gives back to RGU to widen access to higher education

Ivor Ferguson and Family
Ivor Ferguson, who has had a long and successful career in the oil and gas industry in the UK and Australia, has established the Bill and Nancy Ferguson scholarship and here he writes why he decided to donate to the university.

There are two reasons why I give back to others via RGU.

Firstly, in honour of my Father and Mother. They worked hard all their lives as Business Entrepreneurs in the North East of Scotland. Over a 35-year period they founded some 20 companies that employed over 10k people and impacted many thousands more. It was a very tough journey and like so many true entrepreneurs, only a few of the businesses eventually went onto become successful financially. Unfortunately, my Father did not survive to enjoy the fruits of their labour. The positive impact/legacy their business ventures had on many lives is an inspiration to many. The RGU sponsorship represented a personal opportunity to recognise and further my family’s business contributions and those of RGU; towards Scottish Enterprise.

Secondly, I have had the privilege of having had extraordinary career experiences over 40 years. Giving back my time and financial support to help others manifest similar experiences and succeed is one of the most fulfilling things I can now do. 

I did not do particularly well academically at school (too many distractions in a small N.E. village growing up!). Fortunately, I was encouraged by one of the many mentors I have had, to pick up further education as a mature student in my thirties. He convinced me I ‘could do it’ academically; and the timing and subject material ignited a dormant ability within me. The result; passes at Distinction level (who would have thought!) and the kick start to a whirlwind career.

The University helped focus my direction and motivation towards a highly rewarding and fulfilling career. My career was out-with the family businesses above and RGU was key to giving me the corporate and management knowledge and tools needed to thrive in this environment. From Offshore Technician to Managing Director/CEO of International Energy companies, my career has given me many phenomenal life experiences that I could never have imagined as a 17-year-old country lad labouring on a building site.

In truth, EVERYONE has the ability to achieve way beyond anything they can imagine at a young age. The key is to find the building blocks that help reach your true potential… and get on with it! There are always barriers (or excuses) to not do things; like go to University. One of the more genuine reasons for some people are lack of financial support. I know my assistance through the RGU foundation can remove this particular barrier for some future students, and level the playing field.

With an open mind, a can do attitude, good role models and mentors, supportive communities such as RGU - the sky is no longer the limit. Get going, and opportunities will manifest along the way.                             

Hard (Smart) work; Perseverance; and Goal setting /planning are the foundation building blocks to un-imaginable success, whether as individual business entrepreneurs or working for companies.

I think it is important to recognise those individuals or organisations that provided support and inspiration to me along the way. Both my parents, and my time at RGU, were key in my journey. That is why it is important to recognise and continue their legacy of contribution and give back to others.

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