Ferency was a three-time chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor of Michigan in 1966, when he was defeated, as expected, by George W. Romney. He also served as first President of the Human Rights Party, which he helped found in 1970 after breaking with the Democratic Party over its support for the Vietnam War. He rejoined the Democrats in 1976.
Ferency was elected to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners in 1980, and to the East Lansing City Council in 1991. He was serving on the city council at his death. He was a frequent if unsuccessful candidate for other public offices, running for governor in 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, and 1982; for Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court in 1972, 1976, and 1986; and for the Michigan Senate, 24th District, in 1990.
Ferency taught criminal justice at MSU from 1971 until his retirement in 1990.
The Ferency House in the Michigan State University Student Housing Cooperative and the Zolton Ferency Endowed Scholarship at MSU commemorate Ferency.
- Zolton A. Ferency at Find a Grave
- Howe, Marvine (26 March 1993). "Zolton Ferency Dies; Political Champion Of Liberals Was 70". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
- "Michigan: What Is a Romney?". TIME Magazine. November 4, 1966. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
- "Zolton Ferency Endowed Scholarship". Michigan State University. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
- "Ferency House". Michigan State University. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
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