Paul W. Ferguson

Took Office: July 1, 2011; Left Office: July 6, 2014

President Ferguson
photo by Edwin Remsberg

In 2011, Paul W. Ferguson was appointed the 19th President of the University of Maine. He led a remarkable strategic planning process known as the Blue Sky Project promoting student success, community engagement, campus planning and implementation with pathways to realistic growth and financial sustainability.

The university enjoyed success in undergraduate student recruitment, retention, and graduation rates. Renewal of the physical plant occurred through the campuswide Paint, Polish, and Plant Initiative, in addition to major facility construction/renovations that included Memorial Gym and Field House, Estabrooke Hall, Emera Astronomy Center and Stewart Commons, housing the Wyeth Family Studio Art Center and the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center.

Continued success occurred in faculty-driven research and economic development, especially in transformational National Science Foundation EPSCoR funding for the Sustainability Solutions Initiative and Aquaculture; biofuels derived from woody biomass; and launch of VolturnUS, the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine to be deployed off the coast of North America in partnership with the Department of Energy and diverse corporate partners.

Increased success was demonstrated in philanthropy and giving to UMaine by the highest total endowment to date ($252 million) and greatest number of new first-time donors in 2013.

A Southern California native, Ferguson was a Whittier College graduate who earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of California, Davis in 1981. He was an accomplished health scientist with a 30-year record of scholarship and an award-winning professor in the fields of toxicology and public health. During this time, Ferguson also worked as a senior toxicologist for Unocal Corporation.

Beginning in 1993, Ferguson served as Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he was Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. Prior to joining the University of Maine, Ferguson was at the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University, where he was Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Ferguson became the 15th President of Ball State University on Aug. 1, 2014.