The University of Central Missouri’s Board of Governors has selected an interim president for the university, following the resignation of current president Chuck Ambrose.

UCM says in a press release that Roger Best, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer, is being tapped to temporarily fill a position that has been held for the past eight years by Charles “Chuck” Ambrose. The longtime UCM leader announced last week that he has accepted a new leadership position as CEO and president of KnowledgeWorks, a nonprofit organization in Cincinatti, Ohio. Ambrose officially begins his new duties at KnowledgeWorks September 1, and will serve the university through July.

Best begins his interim responsibilities August 1. The board will conduct a national search to permanently fill this position.

Board President John Collier noted, “The board is grateful for Dr. Ambrose’s years of outstanding service to UCM and the excellent progress that has been made during his leadership. While we wish him well as he begins his new responsibilities, we are excited that Dr. Roger Best has accepted the interim role as president. He is a proven leader with experiences in areas such as finance, administration, and academics at UCM that make him a great choice for this temporary role. As a board, we look forward to our continued work with Dr. Best and have the utmost confidence in his ability to help UCM maintain its momentum over the next year.”

Best joined UCM in August 1995 as an assistant professor of finance, and climbed the faculty ranks to become a professor in 2005. He was named chair of the Department of Economics and Finance in 2003; associate dean of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies in 2008; and dean of the college in 2010.  Ambrose named Best Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration in August 2017, and he was promoted to his current position following administrative restructuring in January 2018. In this capacity, he has been responsible for implementing a three-year budget planning cycle for the university, revising university fiscal policies, and leading efforts to provide more robust reporting for budget managers, according to UCM. With board oversight, he helped formalize the university’s contingency reserves guidelines.

Best said he is grateful to the UCM Board of Governors for the opportunity to serve and lead the “incredible students, faculty and staff of UCM.”

“We are especially indebted to Dr. Ambrose for his unparalleled leadership over the last eight years, and wish him well in his new venture. Despite some significant challenges over the last 18 months, we are a strong institution with a deep focus on student success,” he noted. “I have tremendous confidence in my exceptional UCM colleagues, and know that together we will continue to grow our national reputation for academic excellence and innovation."

Best and his wife, Robin, reside in Warrensburg and are active members of the community. Previously, Best served as treasurer and board member of Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County, and served as a Business Visit team member for Johnson County Economic Development Corporation.

Kurt Parsons