Dr. Charles Ambrose, Chancellor
Dr. Charles Ambrose, a nationally known visionary and innovator in higher education, became Henderson State University's first full-time chancellor in November of 2021.
Ambrose previously served as president and CEO of KnowledgeWorks, a national foundation committed to creating the future of learning. He has also served as president of the University of Central Missouri from 2010-2018 and president of Pfeiffer University in North Carolina from 1998-2010.
During his first year at Central Missouri, Ambrose provided energy and leadership for the university's new Strategic Governance for Student Success Model and led an extensive governance, administrative and academic review process designed to provide a stronger, more viable learner-centered educational experience for students, while cutting operational costs and maximizing institutional effectiveness.
In partnership with the Lumina Foundation, Ambrose initiated The Missouri Innovation Campus that included a new model for curriculum development; competency-based applied learning; a statewide grant program; and new public/private partnerships that lower the cost of a degree, accelerate time to a degree, significantly reduce the skills gap for emerging STEM-related fields, and eliminate the use of student loan debt to finance a degree. He was the recipient of the Missouri Governor’s Economic Development Advancement Award and recognized by President Barack Obama as a result of his efforts with the Innovation Campus.
Central Missouri experienced six consecutive years of enrollment growth and records – a 27 percent total increase – while maintaining the academic profile of students during Ambrose’s tenure as president.
Prior to serving as Central Missouri's president, Ambrose became the state of North Carolina's youngest serving president, being named the president of Pfeiffer University at age 36.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology at Furman University, a Master of Arts degree in higher education administration at the University of Louisville, and a Doctor of Education in higher education administration at the University of Georgia.
Ambrose and his wife, golf professional Kristen Allen Ambrose, have two adult children, Charles Allen Ambrose and Kathryn Ambrose Livingston, and two grandchildren, Will and Caroline Ambrose.