Office of the President

Colin Ferguson

2nd Principal (President) of Washington College

(c. 1754-1807)


  • University of Edinburgh
  • M.A. Washington College
  • D.D. Washington College  

Reverend Dr. Colin Ferguson was the son of a Scotch emigrant and was born in Kent County, Maryland. His education began at home, but he traveled to Scotland and studied at the University of Edinburgh. After several years of diligent study, he returned to Maryland an accomplished scholar. In 1782, he was an instructor in the Kent County School at Chestertown. He was honored with the degree Master of Arts from Washington College in 1783, and he was chosen as professor of languages, mathematics and natural history the same year. He had a competent knowledge of English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and the Erie languages. He held the chair for ten years when he was appointed Principal of the college. Dr. Ferguson resigned in 1804 when the institution was deprived of its funds by the legislature of Maryland. He spent the remainder of his life in retirement.

He also studied theology under Rev. William Smith, D.D., rector of Chester parish and was admitted to deacon’s orders in Christ Church, Middletown, Connecticut, August 3, 1785, and to priest’s orders August 7, 1785, by Bishop Seabury. He was licensed to preach in St. Paul’s parish, Kent County, Maryland, which was the only parish of which he ever had charge. He received the degree of D.D. from Washington College in 1787, and was an active member of the Episcopal convention of 1789 at which the constitution of the church was discussed and adopted. He was recognized as one of the most noted divines and distinguished educators in the American colonies.  

Historic information from Washington College Archives & Special Collections