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Charles Ambrose, University of Central Missouri President
Charles M. Ambrose, Ed.D., became 15th president of the University of Central Missouri Aug. 1, 2010. A career educator who is a fervent advocate of servant leadership and engaged learning, he is committed to promoting academic quality, excellence in teaching, and the collegiate experience.
Prior to accepting his UCM post, Ambrose served for 12 years as president of Pfeiffer University, an independent, comprehensive institution located in Misenheimer, N.C. When he was recruited as Pfeiffer's president, Ambrose was only 36 years old, making him the youngest serving president of a college or university in North Carolina in 1998. When his tenure ended at Pfeiffer, he was the second-longest-serving president of the state’s 36 independent colleges and universities.
During his first year at UCM, President Ambrose helped guide the institution through the building of a new Strategic Governance Model in partnership with the Association for Governing Boards. He also provided leadership through an extensive administrative and academic review process designed to provide a stronger, more viable educational experience for students, while also cutting operational costs.
Under his direction, the campus began the development of a new strategic positioning initiative to provide a more articulated understanding of what makes UCM unique, and help guide the institution in establishing its future priorities. The president continued to build strong relationships with the men and women who serve this country. This includes the establishment of the Whiteman Advantage Program, which brings together personnel from Whiteman Air Force Base and the university to work cooperatively in creating new educational opportunities for military members. The university also developed the Military Tuition Package, which provides savings on an education for military men and women currently serving their country, as well as their spouses and dependents, and veterans.
Dr. Ambrose has sought to build student enrollment, an effort which paid off
in fall 2011 with 11,750 students taking classes, the largest enrollment in
the university's 140-year history. To help make education more accessible, the
university also entered new articulation agreements with institutions such as
Metropolitan Community College and Linn State Technical College.
In addition to his presidency at Pfeiffer and UCM, Ambrose served as vice president for advancement at Carson-Newman College, assistant to the chancellor for university advancement at Western Carolina University, and executive assistant to the president at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. He's also a former faculty member, having taught graduate classes in higher education administration and legal issues. Ambrose has participated in many scholarly and professional activities throughout his career, and served for two years as chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Presidents Council.
President Ambrose attended Furman University, where he was a four-year letterman and captain of the soccer team. After graduating from Furman with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, he earned two advanced degrees in higher education administration, a master’s from the University of Louisville and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Georgia.
Ambrose and his wife, Kris, are active in the community, and have supported through charitable bike rides causes that fight poverty, hunger and disease. The Ambroses have two children Charlie, a college sophomore; and Kathryn, a high school junior.