A Southern California native, Paul Ferguson has enjoyed a 30-year career in public higher education as a professor in the field of toxicology/public health and as a university administrator. Prior to coming to Biola University in 2016, Ferguson served in leadership roles at five universities including as president of Ball State University (2014–16), president of the University of Maine (2011–14), provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2006–11), vice president for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1999–2006) and vice provost and dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Louisiana, Monroe (1993–99).
Ferguson began his academic career as an assistant professor of toxicology in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, eventually rising to professor and chair of the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology before assuming senior leadership responsibilities. Commensurate with advancing in the administrative arena, he served in joint faculty appointments including professor of biology and toxicology at UNLV, professor of toxicology and environmental sciences at SIUE, and professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Maine. Throughout his career Ferguson has maintained a consistent commitment to scholarship through writing and publishing in scientific and higher education literature, as well as teaching selected graduate and undergraduate courses in higher education leadership, toxicology and public health. Ferguson also served in the corporate sector as a research biologist for Pennwalt Corporation (1974–76) and as senior toxicologist for Unocal Corporation (1984–88).
Ferguson has been married to his wife, Grace, for 41 years. The Fergusons have three children.