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Pfeiffer emphasizes servant leadership

By Natasha Suber
Pfeiffer University News Service
When Pfeiffer University’s President Dr. Chuck Ambrose addressed the campus community for the first time during convocation in 1998, he introduced an initiative that very few had ever heard of ó servant leadership.
Twelve years later, Pfeiffer, which will celebrate its 125th anniversary this fall, is respected for its work and has received several state and national honors for its implementation of civic engagement and servant leadership that is ingrained into the university’s fabric.
Ambrose will address members of the Cabarrus County and Concord-area Rotary Clubs, and area students from Interact and Rotaract Clubs, at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, at Cabarrus Family Medicine, 270 Copperfield Blvd., Suite 102 in Concord.
In his address “Servant Leadership Now More Than Ever,” he will share how the university lives out its mission of “preparing servant leaders for lifelong learning,” how its goal of service has affected lives across the globe and why it is essential in today’s environment.
Coined by Robert Greenleaf, the phrase “servant leadership” is not simply a concept, but a way of life. It creates a culture in workplaces, organizations and institutions to encourage leaders, especially managers, to value employees and involve them in the decision making process. It promotes ethical and caring behaviors and helps enhance personal growth in an effort to improve the caring and quality of businesses and corporations.
Ambrose said in today’s climate, servant leadership is essential like never before to help positively influence the cultures within large institutions and to create and restore public perception and confidence.
“Whether employed by a Fortune 100 company or a small school district in rural USA, leaders are in a position to become positive influencers by proving they can serve others within those environments. By implementing a genuine transformational approach to life and work, they have the potential to change the dynamics of not only their organizations, but creating positive change throughout our society,” Ambrose explained.
“In this current culture that is seemingly more material-driven, dog-eat-dog and awarding individuals with golden parachutes, servant leadership is critical like never before.”
Ambrose introduced to Pfeiffer three basic servant leadership principles: Christian Service, which covers mission trips, campus ministry and volunteer service; service learning, which involves internships, cooperative partnerships with area agencies and practical learning programs; and co-curricular development, a focus on leadership and character-building programs.
Last year, the Pfeiffer community conducted more than 35,000 service hours that provided an economic impact of approximately $631,750 through its Francis Center for Servant Leadership, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall and coordinates the university’s service scholarship programs and volunteers.
With a legacy of service as a mission school, Pfeiffer has been recognized with for its service-based initiatives, including the 2008 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, three consecutive honors from the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts, and several individual student and university awards from the N.C. Campus Compact.
Engaged in service himself, Ambrose and his wife, Kris, put a national spotlight on breast cancer research with the “Ride for the Ribbon,” a 1,000-mile bike ride and campaign that raised awareness and more than $200,000 for breast cancer research and education.
He also serves on numerous boards and committees. Ambrose earned a bachelor’s degree from Furman University, a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Louisville and an Ed.D. from the University of Georgia.
For more information, please contact Lisa Perry, president of the Cabarrus Rotary Club, at 704-788-2949 or lisa@perryproductions.com.

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