Ready to Engage
New President's Friendly Smile Mirrors People Focus
By Jeff Murphy
As Charles Ambrose sits in front of a television camera fielding interview questions in the music room of his new residence, an aura of comfort and familiarity surrounds the University of Central Missouri's 15th president. It's no wonder.
Having spent the past 12 years as president of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, NC, he's had plenty of experience with media. He also never shies away from conversation, no matter who asks the questions.
"I like people," he says, smiling. "As my family would say, I will talk and introduce myself, almost anytime, anywhere. That's where I get my energy. If my tank gets low, I would rather sit down and talk to someone and engage with them."
Known to his friends and colleagues as Chuck, UCM's top administrator was selected in April 2010, following a nationwide search conducted by the university's Board of Governors. Although Ambrose's duties officially began Aug. 1, the new president was already thinking about the tasks that lie ahead when he and his wife, Kristen, and 15-year-old daughter, Kathryn, made a two-day visit to campus and a brief stop at Selmo Park, the president's official residence, in late June. The couple also has an 18-year-old son, Charlie, who starts college in Kentucky this fall.
As Ambrose discusses his immediate goals for UCM, he stresses the value of the collegiate experience for students. He emphasizes his desire for graduates to be able to look back at the time they spent on campus and say, "this is the place that made me who I am, what I believe and what I value in the life ahead."