Four promotions were announced last week at Ferris and Company Inc. Richard L. Bruce was named a director, Ernest S. Carso and Robert Reynolds were promoted to senior vice-presidents and Milton A. Behn was elevated to vice president of the Washington investment firm.

Bruce, who is a senior vice president with Ferris, began his career in securities in 1948. Before joining Ferris in 1965, he was with McDonald and Co. Prior to that he was a partner in the firm of Rouse, Brewer, Becker and Bryant.

Reynolds was illustrations editor for National Geographic Magazine before coming to Ferris in 1956. He is vice chairman of the board of Hartwick College and a member of the Association Governing Boards Colleges and Universities.

Corso is currently manager of Ferris' Rosslyn office. He joined the company in 1958 as a registered representative.

Behn joined Ferris in 1969 as a registered representative after 20 years of military service.

John B. Gantt has been promoted to vice president and general counsel of Comsat General Corp., a subsidiary of Communications Satelite Corp. Gantt has been general counsel of Comsat General since July 1977. He will retain his position as secretary of the corporation.

W. Dean Singleton has been named president of the newspaper division of a group of newspapers owned by Joe L. Alloritton, former publisher of the Washington Star.

Singleton will be in charge of the three newspapers in the Allbritton group: The Westfield (Mass.) Evening News. The Paterson (N.J.) News and the Dispatch of Union City, N.J.

Joshua L. Smith has been named president of the Maxima Corp., a minority-owned information systems company located in Silver Spring.

Before his appointment, Smith was vice president of the consulting and publishing firm of Herner and Co. He was formerly executive director of the American Society for Information Science and director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Library and Information Sciences.

Hamilton W. Wells has been elected a vice president of the Bank of Columbia and named manager of the bank's main office at 1430 K St. NW. Wells worked for American Security Bank for 26 years before coming to Columbia.

Robert J. McDonough has been appointed executive vice president and chief executive officer of the newly formed Continental Bank and Trust Co. of Springfield.

Richard D. Brown has been promoted to controller of Planning Research Corp. He joined the firm in 1969 as general accounting supervisor and has served as assistant controller since 1974.

The board of directors of the United States Railway association recently promoted Frederic W. Yocum, Jr. to vice president for operations and marketing for the association.

Robert E. Duvall has been named vice president and senior trust officer of the Northern Virginia Bank.

Prior to his appointment, Duvall was trust officer of the Riggs National Bank and assistant vice president of the American Security Bank.

The Wharton School Club of Washington has selected S. Greenhoot Fischer, chairman of the board of D.C. National Bank, to receive the Joseph Wharton Award. The award, named for Joseph Wharton, founder of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania, is presented each year to an individual in the Washington area whose achievements exemplify the training offered by the Wharton school.

Fischer, a 1939 graduate from the Wharton School, became chairman of D.C. National in 1976.