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


Finalists Named for UCM Presidency; Forums Set for April 26-27

Contact Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 23, 2010) – A current president at a private higher education institution and a longtime senior-level administrator at a state university are being considered for the presidency at the University of Central Missouri.

UCM’s Board of Governors today announced that Charles M. Ambrose, Ed.D., president of Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC, and Larry H. Dietz, Ph.D., vice chancellor for Student Affairs and special assistant to the chancellor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, are the finalists for the university’s top administrative post.

Open Forums Planned

Dietz will be at UCM Monday, April 26, and Ambrose will visit campus Tuesday, April 27, to participate in public forums. These events are open to the campus and local community, and take place at 10:30 a.m. in the James L. Highlander Theatre. Mike Wright, dean of the College of Education and chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, will moderate each session and present questions from the campus community that were provided in advance to the committee.

Larry H. Dietz, Ph.D.

Larry Dietz

Larry H. Dietz, Ph.D.

Dietz, who also is a tenured associate professor of educational administration and higher education, assumed his current post as vice chancellor for Student Affairs in April 2000. In this capacity, he provides leadership to a division that has 14 different departments, a $68 million budget, and a staff of more than 500 people. As special assistant to the chancellor, he has worked with the Carbondale community serving on the Board of Directors for the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, and co-chairing the Race Relations Task Force. He also has represented the university on state-wide programs such as the Illinois Campus Compact, which is a consortium of college and university presidents devoted to service learning and volunteerism.

Similar to UCM, SIUC has a strong aviation program and excellent programs in education and criminal justice. Dietz works with each academic dean directly and serves on the Deans’ Council and the Chancellor’s Executive Committee.

Dietz’s higher education experience covers service to public universities in three states, including 13 years at Iowa State University, Ames, IA,15 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and 12 years at SIUC. Much of his tenure at Iowa State from 1972-1985 was spent in the area of Financial Aid and Student Employment, a unit in which he held positions as assistant coordinator, assistant director, acting director, and associate director before accepting a job in Missouri. He worked for UMKC from 1985-2000, serving as assistant and associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs, and vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. He joined SIUC in 2000 as vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and special assistant to the chancellor, and established the first enrollment management program at SIUC.

His vast experiences cover areas such as student recruitment, student retention and assessment, cultivating strong relationships with alumni and friends in fundraising, and pursuing grants and contracts to help fund university programs. Increases in enrollment and initiatives such as building renovation and construction projects that benefit students occurred under his leadership. His numerous honors and awards include being selected in 2009 to represent the American Universities Iraq Consortium on a panel with Prime Minister Al-Malaki.

Dietz’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from SIUC, 1970; Master of Science in Higher Education and Student Personnel, Iowa State, 1974; and a Ph.D. in Professional Studies, Iowa State, 1985.  He attended the Management Development Program and the Institute for Education Management, both at Harvard University, and participated in the Fulbright International Education Seminar for Administrators-Germany.

Charles M. Ambrose, Ed.D.  

Charles Ambrose
Charles M. Ambrose, Ed.D.

Ambrose’s experiences include working with private and public institutions. After becoming the youngest college president in North Carolina as a 36-year-old in 1998, he is now the second longest serving president of the 36 independent colleges and universities in the state.

Pfeiffer University, a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church has three permanent locations across Central North Carolina and a site in the Czech Republic. The university offers educational experiences with a strategic vision that emphasizes service and leadership. Known as The Pfeiffer Initiative, under Ambrose’s leadership it has yielded outcomes that include an increase in enrollment by 40 percent, increases in operating revenues by nearly 90 percent, doubling the level of annual giving, 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, TN, affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. While serving this institution he transitioned the university from a development model to a comprehensive advancement program, which during his first year produced record levels of institutional gift income, the highest number of gifts from alumni and the largest gift in the college’s history.

Before assuming his position in Tennessee, Ambrose served as assistant to the chancellor for University Advancement at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, 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.

Ambrose has experience in working with higher education presidents at the national level. He served from 1988-1990 as executive assistant to the president for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where his responsibilities included the interpretation of national public policy issues related to state colleges and universities. He also served as staff liaison to ASCCU’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, and has a history of community involvement. He also has contributed to the development of many new academic programs and initiatives as a college president, has published numerous articles in journals 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.

Ambrose has been active in charitable events, including organizing and participating in a 1,000-mile bike ride in 2003 with his wife, Kristen, which raised $200,000 in support of breast cancer research and education at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and Pfeiffer University.

Dietz and Ambrose were chosen by the UCM Board of Governors as finalists following off-campus interviews of seven semi-finalists conducted in cooperation with the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The university launched a nationwide search this spring to fill a post currently held by the 14th president, Aaron Podolefsky, Ph.D., whose contract with UCM concludes June 30.

The university plans to make a video of the public forums available for those who cannot attend. DVDs of finalists’ presentations will be available for viewing at the James C. Kirkpatrick Library’s Circulation Reserve Desk. Copies of each candidate’s vita can be viewed at