Ronald L. Ellis, Ph.D. became the fifth president of California Baptist University on November 1, 1994. In this, his 29th year at the helm of this important institution, he is recognized for his leadership in the community by the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame with his induction into the Class of 2023 in the Contributor category.
Since his installation as president, California Baptist University has experienced dramatic changes in every aspect of university academic, athletic and social life. Under Dr. Ellis’ direction, there has been an organized plan to move forward to the highest sports level in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Initially, Cal Baptist would compete successfully in NAIA competition by winning 22 national championships in 12 years. Then, the Lancers would gain membership in NCAA Division II, with the Lancers continuing to compete strongly in the Pacific West Conference (they won the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup in just their first year). Finally, CBU accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference in 2017, paving the way for a multi-year transition to NCAA Division I status, which was achieved in 2022. Currently there are 18 varsity athletic teams competing in the WAC for most sports. This has coincided with construction, installation and improvement of multiple athletic facilities on campus. A new Recreation Center building was dedicated in January 2013 offering a wide range of physical fitness options to students and employees and a state-of-the-art Events Center opened in November 2017 to host various university sports and commencement events. For his contributions and promotion of sporting activities within the community, the Riverside Sport Hall of Fame welcomes Dr. Ron Ellis to the Class of 2023.