(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – University of Central Missouri President Chuck Ambrose announced to the Warrensburg community that he is no longer a candidate for the position of president at the University of Montana Tuesday night.
Ambrose quoted a tweet about the news and confirmed it while also expressing that he is grateful for the opportunity to be in a community that cares about UCM students and the followed by the hashtag #StayingintheBurg.
“What I’ve gone through with the University of Montana is a process and it was a positive and good process. Now it’s just time to get future-focused and move on,” Ambrose said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Ambrose said he was encouraged by professional friends of his to engage in a conversation about the president position at the University of Montana.
“This was much more of a focused conversation encouraged by people I trust, and it was the encouragement that came several months ago so I just allowed that conversation to continue,” he said.
Ambrose also said he believed the situation happened as it was supposed to.
“It’s all about fit, so one thing that I communicated to them in the public forum on their campus was the fact that I really do consider that I’ve got one of the best jobs in education and went on to tell them why,” Ambrose said.
He said that many of the challenges that UCM faces are similar to challenges that he would have been tackling at UM.
“I wasn’t going to promise more than we could deliver, but many of the challenges are the same. It’s how you address them,” he said.
Ambrose said the experience was positive overall.
“They have a very engaging campus. I enjoyed the people I met. It was worth having the conversation. At this point in my career, I don’t enter thinking about winning and losing, just if there’s a real strong demand for what you can bring, you know it will work,” he said.
Ambrose is in his first year of a six-year renewal contract and said it would have been difficult to leave UCM.
“Our campus core and commitment to student success is really hard to leave here. Its unique; it’s distinct; it’s powerful; it’s a great place to lead,” he said. “My objective is to serve at a place where I can be effective and they feel like I can take them with momentum forward.”
As far as future goals for UCM, Ambrose said he plans on working to grow enrollment, retention and completion rates with programs such as the 15-to-Finish scholarship.
“We have had solid momentum, especially with undergraduates, and continuing to take that to the next level is going to be really important and that’s important to provide the kind of resources that faculty and staff need to make it a good place to work and live,” he said.