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Joe Ferguson Joe Ferguson

Photos of Joe Ferguson are courtesy of the National Geographic Society

Joe Ferguson, director of Geography Education Outreach for the National Geographic Society, was a passenger on American Airlines #77 when it crashed into the Pentagon. Ferguson, who joined the Society in 1987, was accompanying D.C. students and teachers on an educational field trip to the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary in California. Ann Judge (not pictured), director of the Society's Travel Office, was also on the flight.

Lower right photo:
Ferguson strikes a pose next to the Deep Worker submersible, which helps scientists gather data for the NGS/NOAA Susatinable Seas Expedition. With Ferguson are two other National Geographic employees: Lisa Hungness (left) and Rita Dooley (center).

In Memoriam

Ohio University Alumnus Joe Ferguson Lost In September 11 Tragedy
By Mary Alice Casey

Associate Professor of Geography Hugh Bloemer prized the National Geographic Society's Joe Ferguson as a peer just as he valued him as a student 16 years ago.

Ferguson, who worked as a teaching assistant for Bloemer in 1985-86 and 1986-87 while pursuing a master's degree at Ohio University, was among the 64 people killed when American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. As director of the Society's Geography Education Outreach Program, Ferguson was traveling with another staff member, three Washington, D.C., teachers and three students to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary near Santa Barbara, Calif., to take part in a marine research project.

"I kept in touch with Joe all these years," Bloemer said. "Whatever you needed, Joe would never fail you. He was just a prince of a man."

The summer after wrapping up his commitment to Bloemer in 1987, Ferguson landed a highly competitive internship with the Society that evolved into a full-time position. His role as director of the Society's education program was the perfect fit for a man who saw great value in teaching geography.

"He enjoyed what he was doing for the Society, and he was good at it," Bloemer said. "He worked hard to spread the word about geography."

In a story that appears on the Society's Web site, President and CEO John Fahey said Ferguson was strongly committed to improving geography education in America's classrooms.

"Joe Ferguson's final hours at the Geographic reveal the depth of his commitment to one of the things he really loved," Fahey said. "Joe was here in the office until late Monday evening (Sept. 10) preparing for this trip to the Channel Islands - an extraordinary experience for the teachers and particularly the young students. It was his goal to make this trip perfect in every way."

More information and the opportunity to share and read condolences to be passed on to the families of those lost can be found on the National Geographic Society Web site.


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