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ID number:  BIRRC-H0060
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  University Heritage Collection
Artist / Maker:  Ede & Ravenscroft
Title / Object name:  Graduation Robes belonging to Elnora Ferguson
Object type:  Clothing

A long graduation robe, navy with yellow trim down the front and on the sleeves. There are two University of Birmingham crests sewn onto the yellow trim.

Notes:  Elnora Ferguson’s robes pertain to her honorary graduation (DUniv) in 2003 for her contributions to charitable and voluntary work. Originally from Lancashire, she married the well-known academic John Ferguson in 1950. As committed Quakers they participated in many philanthropic activities. Their work started in Nigeria in 1956, where Elnora established one of the country’s first sixth form colleges for girls. When they returned to the United Kingdom in the early 1970s, the couple helped to establish the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and actively contributed to the Peace Museum. Elnora was an active citizen of Birmingham as she participated in the Lunar Society and chaired the National Peace council (of which she also chaired her local Selly Oak branch). She continued to work with an array of voluntary projects in her later life. It was her association with the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, who very generously donated towards a Chair in Global Ethics and a UNESCO Chair in 2000, which led to her honorary graduation. Elnora was also a generous donor to both the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Research and Cultural Collections, the latter being given a bequest of objects which form an intrinsic part of the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts.

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