Bestselling author Kitty Ferguson grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where she was surrounded by classical music, religious discussions, books, and science. Her grandfather was a Methodist minister, her parents were musicians, and her own formal schooling was almost entirely in music. She attended the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, and as a vocalist, she had the privilege of performing with a number of world-famous conductors of classical music, including Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Seiji Ozawa, and Leopold Stokowski.
Notwithstanding her musical upbringing, training, and professional experience, Ms. Ferguson inherited her father's infectious enthusiasm for learning about science. In 1986, she joined her husband Yale, a professor at Rutgers, on his sabbatical at the University of Cambridge, in England. During this and many subsequent visits to Cambridge, Ms. Ferguson made the acquaintance of such eminent scientists as Sir Brian Pippard and Stephen Hawking. Before long, her career shifted from music to writing and lecturing about science, and in 1991, her book Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of Everything became a Sunday Times bestseller in England.
In all, Ms. Ferguson has written nine books, including Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind, which was revised in 2017 for Hawking's 75th birthday, and since 2000, she and her husband have been engaged in philanthropic activities in South India, in partnership with the Episcopal church, for which she has served as a member of its Guild of Scholars. Ms. Ferguson and her husband now live in Bluffton, South Carolina while still finding time to go back to Cambridge, England for a few weeks each year. The University of South Carolina Beaufort is deeply honored to have Ms. Kitty Ferguson as our keynote speaker for the 2018 Student Research and Scholarship Day.