Skip to Main Navigation | Skip to Content

University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Charles M. Ambrose Named 15th President of UCM

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 3, 2010) – Concluding a nationwide search, the UCM Board of Governors has named the institution’s 15th president. Charles M. Ambrose, Ed.D., who has served as president of Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, N.C., since 1998, begins his new duties at UCM, effective Aug. 1.

The announcement of Ambrose’s appointment was made by Board President Richard Phillips, Lake Tapawingo, who added that plans are underway to publicly introduce the new president before the end of the spring semester. Ambrose and his family will participate in a reception at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 5 in Elliott Union 240. Members of the university and the local community are invited.

Dr. Charles Ambrose, UCM President-elect
Dr. Charles M. Ambrose, Ed.D.

“After a very thorough search process, we’re excited that Chuck Ambrose has accepted the president’s position at UCM,” Phillips said. “He is recognized nationally as a very astute and effective leader, and he will bring 12 years of successful experience as a university president to this campus. We’re looking forward to bringing Dr. Ambrose and his family to UCM next week.”

Ambrose commented on his new post, noting, "It is with incredible personal and professional enthusiasm that my family and I receive the invitation to become part of the University of Central Missouri family. The university's mission was well represented in the commitment of everyone we met throughout the search process. With such a significant place and purpose, we cannot receive a more exciting sense of welcome than that extended by the Board of Governors and University community. The future of the state and communities that UCM serves will be shaped by our work together."

At age 36, Ambrose became the president of Pfeiffer University, a private comprehensive institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church, which has three permanent locations across central North Carolina and a site in the Czech Republic. The university offers educational experiences with a strategic vision known as The Pfeiffer Initiative that emphasizes service and leadership. Under Ambrose’s leadership, this initiative has yielded outcomes that include an increase in enrollment by more than double, increases in operating revenues by nearly 90 percent, doubling the total level of annual support, enhanced academic profiles of students, and the implementation of service learning programs across the curriculum.

Prior to joining Pfeiffer, Ambrose served from 1994-1998 as vice president for advancement at Carson-Newman College, a private liberal arts college in Jefferson City, Tenn., affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Before assuming his position in Tennessee, Ambrose served as assistant to the chancellor for University Advancement at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C., from 1991-1993. He also served at Western Carolina as a special assistant to the chancellor, 1990-1991, and was an assistant professor in the School of Education and Psychology from 1990-1993.

At the national level, Ambrose served from 1988-1990 as executive assistant to the president for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C., where his responsibilities included the interpretation of national public policy issues related to state colleges and universities. He also served as staff liaison to AASCU’s Committee on Policies and Purposes, a group composed of 20 college presidents.

His preparation for a professional career includes a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree from Furman University, 1983; Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, University of Louisville, 1986; and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration, University of Georgia, 1989. Furman presented him the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.

Ambrose has been active in many scholarly and professional activities. He also has contributed to the development of many new academic programs and initiatives as a college president, has published numerous articles in journals about issues such as academic freedom, and made presentations for groups such as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. From 2006-2008, he chaired the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division II, President’s Council and served on the association’s executive committee.

Ambrose and his wife, Kristen, a former golf professional, are active in the community they serve. They are the parents of two children, Charles Allen, 18, and Kathryn Glenn, 15.

Recognizing the tremendous time and commitment that went into the search process, Phillips thanked the Board of Governors; the presidential search consultant Ken Hutchinson, Columbia; and the 20-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, led by Mike Wright, dean of the College of Education. The committee included representatives of the campus, representatives of various governance groups, and members of the local and Kansas City communities.

“The Board of Governors and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee spent a great deal of time on this process and were very focused in helping to find the best person to provide leadership for this university,” Phillips said.

Phillips said 35 individuals applied for the president’s position, with the advisory committee and members of the board both having the opportunity to review all of the applications. Following this review, the committee selected seven individuals whose names were brought forward to the board for its consideration as semi-finalists. In a separate meeting, the board identified its seven semi-finalists, which resulted in an exact match for six of the seven names. After deliberation, another name was added.  On April 12-13, the committee and the board held concurrent off-campus interviews of all seven semi-finalists. Following the interviews, the committee was asked to submit its feedback on all seven semi-finalists for the board’s review, without ranking the candidates. The board reviewed feedback from the committee and selected two finalists who were invited to campus to participate in public forums. Input from campus members who attended the forums was requested and considered by the board in making its final decision.

Ambrose succeeds Aaron Podolefsky, Ph.D., whose contract concludes in June 30, 2010.

Founded in 1871, UCM is a comprehensive public university with an enrollment of more than 11,000 students. This includes students taking courses taught on the main campus in Warrensburg as well as those who are taking advantage of distance learning opportunities and courses taught at the UCM Summit Center in Lee’s Summit, serving the Kansas City metropolitan area.