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Chuck Ambrose

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
EdD, 1989

Dr. Charles (Chuck) Ambrose is a senior consultant at Husch Blackwell where he advises higher education leaders on policy and strategy.

Dr. Ambrose had previously served as the first-ever chancellor of Henderson State University and saw the school through a challenging time of financial exigency.

A fervent advocate for servant leadership and engaged learning, Ambrose served as the CEO and president of KnowledgeWorks, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing personalized learning that empowers every child to take ownership of their success, from September 2018 until March 2021. 

Prior to joining KnowledgeWorks, Ambrose served as the  University of Central Missouri’s 15th president from 2010 to 2018. His eight years at UCM were marked by increased attention to workforce development, student success programs, partnerships with major corporations, and extensive internal reviews of school governance and academic programs. His dedication to new approaches in higher education to accelerate the time it takes for students to complete a degree, reduce college debt load, and provide experiential learning led to the establishment of The Missouri Innovation Campus in 2012. Growing to nearly 14,000 students, UCM experienced record enrollment under Dr. Ambrose’s leadership. He sought to keep tuition costs down while providing leadership for the largest capital building project in the university’s history, The Crossing – South at Holden, and established the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract for student completion. 

Prior to joining UCM, Dr. Ambrose became Pfeiffer University’s youngest president at age 36 and served for 12 years. His career in higher education administration also took him to Carson-Newman College, Western Carolina University, Furman University, and to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he served as executive assistant to the president. 

Dr. Ambrose and his wife, Kris, a former golf professional, have two children. Charlie received his master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and Kathryn pursued her master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh.


Dr. 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. 

News Featuring Chuck Ambrose

by Mary Harrison

Michael T. Nietzel and Charles M. Ambrose (MIHE EdD, 1989) provided an overview of their new book entitled Colleges on the Brink: The Case for Financial Exigency, in Inside Higher Ed.

by Jewel Caruso

by Jewel Caruso

Charles Ambrose (EdD, 1989) was featured on the Complete College America (CCA) podcast CCA On the Air discussing student success at Henderson State University with CCA President Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva.

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