Wrongfully convicted Georgetown alumnus wins Marshall Scholarship

Georgetown University alumnus Brian Ferguson—who was wrongfully incarcerated for homicide and served 11 years of a life sentence before being exonerated—is one of 48 students nationwide to be awarded a Marshall Scholarship. Ferguson will use the scholarship, aimed at strengthening ties between the United States and the U.K., to pursue a master’s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford University.

Building on his Georgetown experience

Ferguson says completing his college degree was “of paramount importance” upon his release from prison, adding that “having the opportunity to earn my degree and contribute in my own way to Georgetown’s rich history of excellence and service to others is really a dream come true.”

As a Georgetown undergraduate, Ferguson created Start Line, a nonprofit that “allows those who have been incarcerated to identify, locate, and rate critical housing, employment, and other social service resources.” He also collaborated with the Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative to install the Paralegal Fellowship Program and to bring “unprecedented second-chance educational opportunities” to incarcerated students through the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program at the DC Jail. Currently, Ferguson is the director of the DC Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs.

Focusing on policy and criminal justice reform

At Oxford, Ferguson will study international policy and criminal justice reform, and says he aspires to continue his education at Yale Law School or Georgetown Law.

Ferguson hopes to someday “establish a social justice consortium of top level universities in countries” like the U.K. and Sweden “to develop policy and create programming designed to remove racial and socioeconomic barriers, especially for those involved in the criminal justice system.”

As 2018 draws to a close, don’t forget to make your year-end gift to Georgetown. Your gift to the Georgetown Fund will advance our commitment to access and affordability by supporting undergraduate scholarships. Give today >

Georgetown News
Topics in this story

Next Up

Pandemic may impede Latine students’ college pursuits, experts warn

Pointing to this year’s enrollment and financial aid numbers, higher education experts are cautioning that the pandemic could reverse hard-won gains in Latinx students’ representation on college campuses.