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CBU president to begin NCAA II President’s Council role in January

INDIANAPOLIS – When the 2014 NCAA Convention in San Diego ends in mid-January, the work for California Baptist University President Dr. Ronald L. Ellis will begin.

Ellis has been selected to serve a four-year term as a member of the NCAA Division II President’s Council. The term will conclude following the 2018 NCAA Convention.

The NCAA Division II President's Council is comprised of 16 presidents or chancellors from active Division II members from around the association. Ellis is the first PacWest president selected to serve a term on the council since the conference reformed for the 2006-07 competition season.

"This is a prestigious honor with tremendous responsibility," said Ellis, who is known for his passion for collegiate athletics and support of the student-athlete. "When California Baptist University as an institution made the decision to move to Division II, the members of the CBU family knew it would take the entire institution to make it a reality. We were diligent in our process and it showed as we smoothly transitioned to active status this year. At the NCAA Convention last January, CBU was called ‘a model program for other transitioning schools to follow.'"

That successful transition has led to his peers asking Ellis to take one of 16 key leadership roles in Division II.

"Now I have been asked to give back by serving on the President’s Council and to represent not just California Baptist University, but all of the student-athletes and institutions of the Pacific West Conference, as well as Division II,” he added. "I am excited about this opportunity and sincerely welcome the challenge."

The NCAA II President’s Council has a myriad of duties and responsibilities, including implementing policies adopted by the Association’s Executive Committee, establishing and directing the general policy for Division II, and developing a strategic plan for Division II.

Matters relative to legislation, finance and committee structure fall under the purview of the council as well.

"The PacWest is thrilled that Dr. Ellis has been selected to the NCAA Division II President's Council," said Bob Hogue, PacWest commissioner. "Because his institution is a new active member in the NCAA, he will bring a fresh perspective and a tremendous enthusiasm to the council."

Ellis became the fifth president of California Baptist University on Nov. 1, 1994. Since then, CBU has experienced sweeping changes in almost every facet of university life from expanding academic programs to a successful athletics program that claimed 22 NAIA national championships in 12 years.

In 2012, California Baptist University captured the Commissioner’s Cup during its inaugural season in the PacWest.

In 2013, CBU attained active status and full membership at the NCAA Division II level and saw its men’s and women’s soccer teams as well as its men’s cross country squad earn berths in the NCAA II National Championships. The CBU women’s volleyball team also is line for a possible post-season bid.

Under Ellis' guidance, enrollment has grown nearly nine-fold from 808 in the fall of 1994 to 7,144 in the fall of 2013. During that same period the university’s operating budget increased from $11.3 million to $189.5 million in fiscal year 2014.

New construction, renovation of existing facilities, and acquisition of property have dramatically transformed CBU’s beautiful Southern California campus. The university also has developed into a significant member of the community and region, and in 2005 the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce named CBU Business of the Year.

And for the eighth straight year, U.S. News & World Report named CBU one of America’s Best Colleges for 2014.

Under the leadership of Ellis, California Baptist has developed into a premier comprehensive Christian university, comprising 10 colleges and professional schools offering 154 undergraduate majors and concentrations as well as 39 master’s degree programs.

In 2011 CBU received its first ever 10-year accreditation affirmation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, while in 2012 California Baptist University’s bachelor degree programs in civil engineering (BSCE), electrical and computer engineering (BSECE) and mechanical engineering (BSME) were accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Ellis received his bachelor’s degree from Houston Baptist University in 1977 and a master’s degree in educational administration from Baylor University in 1981. In 1987, he completed a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Texas A&M University.

Ellis and his wife, Jane Dowden Ellis, are active members of the Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church in Riverside, Calif., where he has served as chair of the board of trustees. The couple have two grown sons and six grandchildren.