John Ebersole, LPD

President, Excelsior College

Excelsior College President John EbersoleJohn F. Ebersole, LPD, is president of Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y., one of the oldest accredited, private, nonprofit distance education institutions in the country. In his 25 year career in higher education, Dr. Ebersole’s personal experience as a post-traditional student has formed his approach to adult education.

Dr. Ebersole has held teaching and management positions at John F. Kennedy University and Boston University, as well as management positions at the University of California – Berkeley and Colorado State University. He developed the “Berkeley Worldwide” international education program; the Colorado State University “CSUN” Network for Learning; and Boston University’s “BU Global.”

A retired Coast Guard commander and Vietnam veteran, Ebersole began his college education while in the military. In addition to being a graduate of the Naval War College, he earned a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University; an EdS from The George Washington University; and master’s degrees in both business and public administration from John F. Kennedy University. He has served as a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he conducted research into innovation in higher education.

Dr. Ebersole serves as Chairman of the American Association of Community Colleges’ Corporate Council. He is a former board member of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (New York). In 2014, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the United States Distance Learning Association.

A former president of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, Ebersole is co-author (with William Patrick) of Courageous Learning: Finding A New Path Through Higher Education (Hudson Whitman Press, 2011).


  • Distance education
  • Federal and state regulation of distance learning; International education
  • Transfer of credit and credit-by-exam
  • Adult education and workforce development
  • Education of U.S. military servicemembers and veterans


  • Doctor of Law and Policy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 2011
  • EdS, Education Specialist, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, 2007
  • Sandler Fellowship in Education, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University,  Boston, MA, 2005-2006
  • Master of Business Administration, John F. Kennedy University, 1982
  • Master of Public Administration,  John F. Kennedy University, 1981
  • International Affairs & National Security, Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Naval War College, 1979
  • Undergraduate Studies, University of Virginia, 1970-1973

Awards and Recognitions

  • Secretary of the Army Public Service Award, 2010
  • Outstanding Service, New England Region, UCEA, 2005
  • Distinguished Service Award, University of California, Berkeley, 1997
  •  “Educator of the Year,” California Department of Trade & Commerce, 1995
  • Chancellor’s Excellence in Management Award, University of California, Berkeley, 1993

Selected Presentations

  • Testimony before House Committee on Higher Education, U.S. Congress, Washington, DC
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Oxford Roundtable, Oxford University
  • Western Consortium on Educational Telecommunications (WCET)
  • The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL)
  • Council on Military Education in Texas and the South (COMETS)

Selected Publications

  • “Courageous Learning,” co-author, Hudson Whitman Press, 2011
  •  “Student Success:  An Outcome that Matters,” Continuing Higher Education Review, 2007
  • “Bridging a National Knowledge Gap,” USA Today, August 3, 2007
  •  “Meeting the Quality Challenge in Online Learning,” Continuing Higher Education Review, 2005
  •  “Innovation:  The New Necessity,” Continuing Higher Education Review, 2004

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • Commission on Lifelong Learning, American Council on Education (ACE), Chair
  • Task Force on Workforce Development ,  U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Member,
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education Visitation Teams,  National Labor College,  Athabasca  University, Chair
  • Substantive Change Committee, Middle States Commission on Higher Education , Member
  • Agencia de Calidad Acreditacion y Prospectiva de las Universidades de Madrid, Representative
  • New York Council of Independent Colleges and Universities, Member, Board of Directors