Honoring a Promise

Veteran and NCC student, Paul Ferguson, continues to find ways to give back to others.


Northampton Community College (NCC) is fortunate enough to have a wide variety of students come through their doors. Students who are looking to excel in their personal lives, to help their families, and to engage with their communities. One of these students is Paul Ferguson, a non-traditional student, with plans to advance his education in order to give back to others.  

This isn’t Ferguson’s first time putting himself in a spot to help and serve others. Shortly after graduating high school, Ferguson tried to find his calling in a career but ultimately fell short of finding what he really wanted to do. That’s when he looked back on his father’s and grandfather’s journey and realized his calling was to join the U.S. Army, just as they did, to provide himself with unique training and skills. Ferguson joined the Army in 1995 and continued to serve as an active member for four years. After that, he joined the reserves and eventually, the National Guard until 2017. His background landed him a job as a federal corrections officer for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in May of 2023.  

As a retired veteran, Ferguson remembered a promise that he had made to himself years before — to pursue a college education and degree. After searching, he came across NCC and knew right away that it was the perfect place for him.  

The fall 2023 semester was his first as a social work major. Whether it’s helping fellow veterans, incarcerated individuals, or anyone seeking guidance, Ferguson wants to be able to use his skills to meet people’s needs and continue to serve. With his vast experience in combat and military-related history, Ferguson has had to deal with loss in various ways. Those struggles and experiences are something that he continues to make his focal point when it comes to helping people, wanting everyone he comes across to know that he can relate to them with empathy and compassion. 

When asked what quote he lives by, Ferguson was quick to respond with a quote from Martin Luther King, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  

“This quote has been relevant throughout my life. I use this quote to motivate me to continue to do my best regardless of what challenges may be ahead,” said Ferguson.