Dr. Paul W. Ferguson
PAUL W. FERGUSON became the 19th President of the University of Maine on July 1, 2011. A Southern California native, President Ferguson is a Whittier College graduate who earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of California, Davis in 1981. Between college and graduate school he gained practical experience working as a research specialist in the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center and as a research biologist for Penwalt Corporation.
An accomplished scholar with a 30-year record of scholarly achievement, President Ferguson began his academic career as a pharmacology and toxicology faculty member at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. At that institution, he worked to establish an undergraduate toxicology program while leading research and outreach efforts aimed at assessing the potential risks from chemical exposures throughout Louisiana. After five years working as senior toxicologist for Unocal Corporation in Los Angeles, President Ferguson returned to ULM, serving as an award winning professor and as the head of the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology. In 1993, he was appointed dean of Graduate Studies and Research. He also served as vice provost from 1995–99, when he left ULM for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
At UNLV, President Ferguson served in a variety of leadership roles, helping that institution realize its vision of becoming a premier metropolitan research university. He joined UNLV as a professor and dean of the Graduate College, before being appointed senior vice provost in 2001. He served as vice president for Research and Graduate Studies from 2003–06, leading the continued development of the UNLV research and graduate education enterprise. During President Ferguson’s time at UNLV, annual extramural funding increased from $59 million to $95 million, while the number of graduate programs rose from 74 to 108.
In 2006, President Ferguson was appointed provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University, and professor of pharmacology and toxicology. He worked to implement major initiatives defined by five academic affairs imperatives: academic quality and assessment, student success, faculty development, educational outreach and enrollment management. During his time at SIUE, the university received national recognition for its academic innovation, culture of assessment and commitment to continuous quality improvement.
As a campus leader highly regarded for his commitment to engagement, inclusivity and quality, President Ferguson has a demonstrated record of university transformations in the areas of increased research and economic development, university-community partnerships, student success, faculty development and academic quality. Currently, President Ferguson is leading an inclusive, campuswide planning and implementation process, the Blue Sky Project, to elevate the University of Maine to new levels of excellence as the most distinctively community-engaged and student centered of the American research universities.
President Ferguson and his wife, Grace, have been married for 37 years and have three children: David and his wife, Kayley, live in College Station, Texas, where he is a doctoral student in kinesiology at Texas A&M University; Kathryn, married to Bobby Bowman, is a medical student at NYU School of Medicine; and Jenny is a UMaine junior studying political science and French.