Regent Keith Ellis

Keith Ellis

Keith Ellis is a proud member of the UC Merced Bobcat Family and is a vocal advocate for California public higher education. He identifies as a gay cis-male and goes by he/him/his pronouns. He also is legally blind due to the Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) disorder. Usually, you can find him accompanied by his guide dog Bubba who is a yellow Labrador Retriever that was trained and provided by Guide Dogs for the Blind. Bubba is a working professional while in harness, but when off-duty he is very playful.

Mr. Ellis has two bachelor’s degrees from UC Merced, Political Science & Management, as well as a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies from Sacramento State. He recently completed his Doctorate in Education from the UC Davis CANDEL Program where his dissertation “California’s Community College Closet: LGBTQ+ Voices” examined the campus climate impacts on LGBTQ+ students at California Community Colleges.

Cultivating philanthropic support for UC Merced is one of Mr. Ellis' passions. With the support of his family, he established the Ellis Family Scholarship Endowment to support students with disabilities at UC Merced. Most recently, he and other UC Merced alumni established the LGBTQ+ Lambda Student Engagement Endowment to support LGBTQ+ student identity development, Lavender Graduation, and other Pride equality programing at UC Merced.

Mr. Ellis currently serves as a Procurement Analyst for the California Department of Rehabilitation where he supports Californians with disabilities. Previously, he worked in disability services at Folsom Lake and Cosumnes River Colleges. In addition to having served on several shared governance committees at Los Rios Community College District, he also served as a campus representative for the Los Rios Classified Employees Association.

He has previously served as the Legislative Advocacy Committee Chair for the California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED) where he provided a voice for students with disabilities in the California Legislature. Under his leadership CAPED advocated for increased funding for student mental health services and ensured students with disabilities civil rights were protected in new laws and programs like the California College Promise Program where high school graduates receive two years tuition free at California Community Colleges if they are enrolled in at least 12 units; CAPED successfully advocated for a reasonable accommodation exemption to the college promise 12-unit requirement for students with disabilities. Also, he currently serves on the California Assistive Technology Advisory Commission providing oversight for the implementation of the Assistive Technology Act, which provides support for Californians with disabilities needing assistive technology in their daily lives.

Mr. Ellis has served on the Sacramento City Utilities Rates Advisory Commission and Disability Advisory Commission, volunteered with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, and supports the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus.

He is currently the Vice President of the Alumni Associations of the University of California (AAUC) and serves as Alumni Regent for one year commencing July 1, 2023.

Term of Appointment

Term as Alumni-Regent
July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024

Committee Membership (2023-2024)

Compliance and Audit
Finance and Capital Strategies