Charlottetown man who taught for almost 40 years lauded by Rotary Club
© Guardian photo by Jim Day
Ab Ferris of Charlottetown
Ab Ferris always made a strong personal effort to ensure his accounting students put in a solid academic performance.
First, Ferris made a point of memorizing all of his students’ names before they even sat down for the very first class.
In 27 years of teaching accounting at UPEI — he also taught the subject in Poland for seven years and for stints in Bermuda, Alberta and Montana — Ferris sought out the trust, respect and even friendship of his students.
Every Thursday, he and his wife, Kathleen, would take two accounting students out for dinner at Papa Joe’s restaurant in Charlottetown.
Ferris would make a point of offering Thanksgiving dinner at his home to any student who would otherwise be alone on this special occasion.
He even had a student stay at his home for Christmas.
The thoughtful gestures, he believes, were not lost on his students.
“If you showed the students that you care and that you have an interest in their well being, they will do everything possible not to disappoint you,’’ he says. “It’s just such a rewarding experience to work with young people.’’
And the outcomes did not disappoint Ferris. The graduates, he notes, for the large part were simply outstanding during his long run teaching.
Some of his former students, like Trent Henry, have truly excelled in the field of accounting. Henry is the managing partner of Ernst & Young, the third largest professional services firm in the world.
“All professions will only survive if there are mentors,’’ says Ferris.
Ferris did more than his part in the mentoring department in the opinion of the Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty.
The club recently recognized the contributions and service to society of Ferris with its 2013 Mentor Award at a ceremony at the Charlottetown Convention Centre.
“It is not an overstatement to say that Ab’s influence and encouragement to the hundreds of students he has taught has had a very significant positive effect on the business community of Prince Edward Island and beyond,” says Cleve Myers, a friend and colleague.
The 73-year-old Ferris, who is retired from teaching and is currently president and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of P.E.I., says he is pleasantly surprised by the honour.
Since 1989, the Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty has honoured Islanders who, through their contributions and service to society, fulfills the distinction of being a mentor to Rotary, its members and society.