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Keith A. Ferguson 5​K Walk/Run Celebrates its 10th Anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 3

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JULY 28, 2014 – Sonia Cunningham, retired Associate Professor of Nursing at The University of Texas at Brownsville, continues her mission to raise funds for education while honoring her son, Keith A. Ferguson. A 17-year veteran of the New York Police Department, Sgt. Ferguson suffered a heart attack while responding to a fellow officer’s call for assistance in January 2004. He was 38.

“When people asked where to send donations in Keith’s memory, I instinctively named UT Brownsville,” Cunningham said. “I knew I wanted to establish a scholarship endowment and, eventually, an endowed chair. The idea for a race to grow the funds for an endowment came from Keith’s cousin, Max.”

Sgt. Keith A. Ferguson, NYPDSgt. Keith A. Ferguson, NYPD

The following year, Cunningham and her family in New York launched the Keith A. Ferguson 5K Walk/Run across the Brooklyn Bridge, an event that has grown from a few hundred runners and walkers in 2005 to an expected 1,200 participants this year. Held on the first Sunday in August, this year’s race will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Sunday, Aug. 3.

The race starts and ends at the Manhattan City Hall. Participants run across the Brooklyn Bridge into the borough where Ferguson was born and his family said he loved. It is the only race that crosses the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Ferguson 5K Walk/Run is the only race that crosses the Brooklyn Bridge.The Ferguson 5K Walk/Run is the only race that crosses the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Putting this together was a major undertaking by my family and me – and still is today,” Cunningham said. “Participation in the race grows every year, and we continue to do good work in education in Keith’s name. Aside from the two UT Brownsville endowments, we use the proceeds for scholarships that benefit the children of NYPD officers.”

To date, the Keith A. Ferguson Scholarship Endowment for Criminal Justice has awarded $29,800 in scholarships to students studying criminal justice at UT Brownsville.

Earlier this year, the funds earmarked for an endowed chair at UT Brownsville had grown to surpass the required minimum of $100,000, and Cunningham’s long-term goal came to fruition. The Keith A. Ferguson Endowed Professorship in Criminal Justice is the first privately endowed faculty chair to be created at UT Brownsville.

“Attracting meritorious faculty to keep improving a university’s standards is as important as providing assistance to students through scholarships,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said her work is a journey, turning her tragic loss into positive action.

“Education levels the playing field, which is why I have chosen education as the vehicle to celebrate Keith’s life,” Cunningham said. 

Family, friends, old-timers and first-timers will gather at City Hall Park on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge to start the race at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3.

For more race information and to register, visit NYC RUNS.

For more information about contributing to UT Brownsville in Ferguson’s name, call the UTB Office of University Relations at 956-882-4326. To make a gift online, please visit ​
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