Paul W. Ferguson

Took Office: July 1, 2011; Left Office: July 31, 2014

President Ferguson
photo by Edwin Remsberg

In 2011, Dr. Ferguson was appointed the 19th President of the University of Maine, the State’s Land Grant, Flagship University.  As President, Dr. Ferguson led a remarkable strategic planning process known as the Blue Sky Project promoting student success and community engagement.  The Blue Sky Project succeeded quickly as an inclusive, creative, and integrated approach to campus planning and implementation with Pathways to realistic growth and financial sustainability.   Dr. Ferguson, his wife Grace, and daughter, Jenny (UMaine Class of 2014), brought to the campus community a commitment to family and service.

The University enjoyed unprecedented success in undergraduate student recruitment, retention, and graduation rates.  Renewal of the physical plant occurred through the campus-wide 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 with the Art Department’s studio and creative lab space, and the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center, with dedicated facilities for the New Media Department.  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 M) and greatest number of new first time donors in 2013 (2,000 giving $2.7M).  The University of Maine remained  highly ranked as a Tier 1 university of choice by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes Magazine, Princeton Review, and Fiske Guide.

A Southern California native, President Ferguson was a Whittier College graduate who earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of California, Davis in 1981.   As an accomplished health scientist with a 30-year record of scholarship and an award-winning professor in the fields of toxicology and public health. President Ferguson rose through the academic ranks, leading research and outreach efforts in four states to assess and reduce potential health risks from chemical exposures. During this time, Dr. Ferguson also worked as a senior toxicologist for Unocal Corporation, a Los Angeles-based international energy resources company.  Beginning in 1993, Dr. Ferguson  progressed through higher ranks of academic administration, initially serving 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, Dr. Ferguson was at the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University, where he was Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Dr. Ferguson became the 15th President of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana on August 1, 2014.