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Bertha Mills Booth Center for Entrepreneurship Endowment receives $50,000 gift from Ferris estate

L. Joyce and R. Ferris PictureThe Morehead State University Foundation has announced the Bertha Mills Booth Center for Entrepreneurship Endowment received a generous $50,000 gift from the estate of L. Joyce Booth Ferris (68, 70) and Richard “Dick” Ferris. 

Joyce, a native of Beauty, Kentucky, in Martin County, graduated from Morehead State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1968 and went on to receive a master's degree in business education in 1970. She was one of seven children. Of the siblings, five received degrees from MSU. Joyce began her business career at the Inez Deposit Bank in Inez, Kentucky. She went on to teach business education at Lancaster High School and The Ohio State University for several years.   

Joyce and her husband Richard (Dick) moved to various areas of the country with Dick’s career with the Aetna insurance company. Retirement from Aetna allowed the couple to settle in Williamsburg, Virginia, where Dick formed the law firm, Ferris & Associates, later becoming Carrell, Blanton, Ferris & Associates, PLC. Joyce served as the firm’s office manager for nearly 15 years. The legal firm specialized in estate planning. The couple named MSU as a beneficiary of their estate in 2001 and joined MSU’s Visionary Society. Joyce passed away in 2014 as she and Dick were nearing their 40th wedding anniversary. Dick passed away in 2020. 

The Bertha Mills Booth Center for Entrepreneurship Endowment was created in 2000 by Joyce’s brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Linda Booth, in memory of their mother/mother-in-law, Bertha Mills Booth. The endowment supports a wide variety of entrepreneurial initiatives including, but not limited to, regional entrepreneurship education, student participation in business plan competitions at the state, national and international levels, seed capital for student start-up businesses and a student business incubator. 

“This endowment represents how our mother ran our household of seven children like a business. After our father became disabled, she managed the household through planning, organizing and setting goals. She did this with love, patience, energy, enthusiasm, encouragement and guidance,” said Jim Booth. “Joyce was always proud to share that she was a graduate of MSU during her and Dick’s travels, gatherings with friends, golf tournaments and other adventures. This gift from their estate is a wonderful tribute to her love for MSU and our mother.” 

For more information on this endowment, or to learn more about the Visionary Society, contact MSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit

To learn about programs in entrepreneurship and business from the Elmer R. Smith College of Business and Technology at MSU, visit

Photo, left to right: L. Joyce Booth Ferris (68, 70) and Richard “Dick” Ferris made a generous donation to MSU's Bertha Mills Booth Center for Entrepreneurship Endowment.