Arthur Emmet Ellis (1932-2013) was the ninth president at Central (1985-88). Born in Grand Rapids, he obtained a BA in economics from Michigan State University (1958) and an MA in higher education from Eastern Michigan University (1969). Prior to becoming the head of CMU, President Ellis served in the military, worked in the private sector, and worked in State government. In 1968, he began working in higher education at Eastern Michigan University. In 1970, Ellis moved to Central and served as Vice President for Public Affairs (1970-85). He took over as Interim President when Abel resigned in 1985 and was named President in 1986.
During his time with Central the University saw continued growth in terms of faculty hiring, student enrollment, and campus infrastructure as well as the development of the Mount Pleasant Smartzone to promote technological research in Mid-Michigan. He retired in 1988 and returned to working in state government.