John Ebersole, LPD

President, Excelsior College

Excelsior College President John EbersoleJohn F. Ebersole is president of Excelsior College in Albany, New York, one of the oldest accredited, private, nonprofit distance education institutions in the country. His personal experience as a post-traditional student has informed his approach to adult education throughout his more than 30 year career in higher education.

He 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 has developed such programs as the CSUN Network for Learning and Boston University’s BU Global as well as Boston University’s award-winning online program.

Ebersole chairs the American Association of Community Colleges Corporate Council and has been named to the ACE Presidential Innovation Lab. He also serves as chair of the Lighthouse Academies, a nonprofit charter school provider, and as a member of the board of directors of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (New York). He previously served as chair of the American Council on Education’s Commission on Lifelong Learning and is a Hall of Fame inductee of both the United States Distance Learning Association and the International Association of Continuing Higher Education.

A former president of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Ebersole is co-author (with William Patrick) of “Courageous Learning: Finding A New Path Through Higher Education” (Hudson Whitman Press/Excelsior College Press, 2011). The book was recently turned into “Courageous Learning: The Documentary” (Ellucian).

A retired Coast Guard commander and Vietnam veteran, Ebersole began his college education while in the military. In addition to being a distinguished 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.


  • 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