March 27, 2024

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed Britt Rios-Ellis to serve as president of California State University, Stanislaus. Rios-Ellis currently serves as provost and executive vice president of Academic Affairs at Oakland University (OU), a public research university in Rochester, Michigan.

“I am both honored and humbled to serve this outstanding University alongside the talented faculty, staff, administrators and students at Stanislaus State, and to be the first new president selected under the leadership of Chancellor Mildred García,” said Rios-Ellis. “I am eager to get to know the Turlock and Stockton communities and work together to ensure that the positive impact of our students’ and the University’s overall success is felt profoundly throughout the region.”

Rios-Ellis will be the University’s 13th leader, succeeding Interim President Susan E. Borrego who has served in the role since the retirement of President Emerita Ellen Junn in summer 2023.

“On behalf of the Stan state community, I welcome Dr. Rios-Ellis,” Interim President Borrego said. “She will join a community of committed faculty, staff and students who are proud to be a part of such an amazing University.”

“Dr. Rios-Ellis is an inspirational, compassionate and mission-driven leader, guided by a commitment to inclusive excellence and student success,” said CSU Trustee Yammilette Rodriguez, chair of the Stanislaus State Presidential Search Committee. “Her wide-ranging experience, student-centered approach and commitment to broader community engagement make her the ideal candidate to lead Stanislaus State in its next exciting chapter.”

Since joining the Oakland University leadership team in 2021, Rios-Ellis has focused on student and faculty success efforts with a focus on equity, resulting in an 8% increase in retention of underrepresented students, as well as decreasing equity gaps in bottleneck courses, and time to graduation. At Oakland University, she has worked with faculty to increase research activity, with the OU Senate to strengthen shared governance, and with deans and faculty to establish new and needed academic programs. She also coordinated successful fundraising and budget realignment efforts for the university and led an initiative to secure OU’s Carnegie elective classification for Community Engagement.

In all, Rios-Ellis has led more than $59 million in student- and community-strengthening health and education-related efforts funded by the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Education among other agencies, as well as in collaboration with industry partners to reinforce workforce pipelines.

This marks a return to the CSU system for Rios-Ellis. Prior to joining OU, she served as founding dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services at California State University, Monterey Bay (2014 to 2020), where she led fundraising and strategic planning efforts and co-founded the Master of Science Physician Assistant Program — the first of its kind in the CSU.

From 1994 to 2014, Rios-Ellis served as a faculty member in the Department of Health Science at California State University, Long Beach. During that time, she also served as founding director of CSULB’s Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training (2005 to 2015) in alliance with UnidosUS, where she worked to promote and advocate for the health, culture and well-being of diverse communities. She was recognized with a CSULB Outstanding Professor Award in 2013 for her significant impact on Latinx health research and education, and she was named Woman of the Year by the National Hispanic Business Women’s Association in 2010 and the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2009. Additionally, in 2008, she received the Sol Award from the Los Angeles County Office of HIV/AIDS Planning Prevention.

Rios-Ellis earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish, a master's degree in health and fitness management and a Ph.D. in community health — all from the University of Oregon.

Rios-Ellis will assume the University presidency on July 1, 2024.