For the first time, a UC Merced alumnus will serve on the UC Board of Regents.
Keith Ellis, who received his bachelor’s degree from UC Merced in 2012, will serve a two-year term beginning in July and continuing through June 2024. In addition to his new role, Ellis will be recognized as an active officer of the Alumni Associations of UC (AAUC).
“We are confident that Keith’s extensive experience advocating for UC Merced students and alumni will guide his decision-making and help pave the way for different opportunities that exist for all UC alumni and students,” Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said.
Appointments of alumni regents rotate among the 10 campuses of the UC system.
His selection is something Ellis said he is grateful for. He thanked the selection committee and the UC Merced Alumni Association (UCMAA) Board for their confidence, faith and trust in him.
“Being selected to serve as the first UC Alumni Regent from UC Merced is an immense honor and privilege. By being the first, I set a precedent and standard for all those who will succeed in this role. It means the world to me personally to be recognized in this way due to my passion, dedication and service to UC Merced,” Ellis said.
Ellis's new position is another addition to his extended history of involvement with the university as he served as immediate past president of UCMAA from 2020-2022 and president from 2014-2020.
“We represent our campus alumni as well as all UC alumni, and as such, we are their voice at the UC Board of Regents. I need to have robust and sometimes difficult conversations with many different people to process and understand complex issues,” Ellis said.
“My chief plans as a UC alumni regent are to work with the 10 alumni presidents and my fellow alumni regents to facilitate collaborative alumni engagement efforts and leverage the power of our 10 campuses to support all UC alumni from day zero as a student to early-career to mid-career and beyond,” he said.
Ellis has been a key player in encouraging diversity and equity in his various roles and a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, the visually impaired and first-generation college students. The newly appointed alumni regent also supports student success by empowering identity exploration and self-advocacy.
“All those who aspire to the best education and research in the world should feel welcome at the University of California. I want UC to live up to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Like all of us, my lived experiences and identity frame the lens in which I view our world, but as alumni regent, I must balance that with the views and voices of those I represent,” Ellis said.
The three top candidates for the position represented a range of diversity and experience that mirror the rich culture that exists in the campus community. UC Merced alumni and first-generation college students Josh Franco, B.A. '09, M.A. '16, Ph.D. '18, and Brenda Yu, '19, were among the top three candidates to participate in the rigorous selection process.
For more information, visit UC Merced Alumni Regent.