UC Merced Update mastehead


Welcome to this edition of UC Merced Update, providing you with an inside look at recent campus news and developments.


January 18, 2006



The December 14 Board of Trustees events were a resounding success! Consisting of six different committee meetings and two working lunches, the day also featured campus tours and a faculty lecture. It was a day that was both informative and substantive. The afternoon concluded with a meeting of the full board and a holiday reception aptly honoring UC Merced's founding faculty. We send out a special thanks to Board of Trustees members and their spouses, and the staff members who worked hard to make the day a VIP event.

Over the course of the next couple of meetings, UC Merced will share information about important projects and initiatives on campus. Our goal is to give you an overview so that we can work with you over the summer to develop meaningful ways for you to engage with our needs and programs. We know that the closer you are to these programs, the more impact you will be able to have on the campus through involvement in specific areas of your interest.

We look forward to seeing you at our next Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, March 8 at UC Merced. Please come prepared to learn more about our inner workings and consider where your energies and expertise can be best applied.



We appreciate that so many of you and your guests made time during the busy month of December to attend the annual UC Merced Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception. Our Special Events office reports that 200 people showed up at the Central Plant for this affair, making this our largest event ever. Before the festivities began, 80 individuals took an enlightening tour of the plant to learn about the inner workings of this important facility.

With the start of the new year, planning is under way for a spring event at Playhouse Merced. The theater in downtown Merced will be reserved for Chancellor's Associates members and potential members during this evening reception.

Please join us in welcoming our most recent new members: Chiara Riggs, Christian and Lucy Gallery, Dr. Mary and Mr. Robert Avalle, and Robert Pinney and Lynn Wychunas. We also are pleased to welcome back renewing members Larry and Terri Stefani, Claude and Terri Ellison, Sam and Dena Traina, Kirpat and Tripat Grewal, Laverne and Sonia Caldeira, Bob and Kim Rogina, Greg and Sara Martinez Tucker, R. Ravindra and Nirmala Kumar, Allen and Denice Carden, Kay Flanagan-Spinelli and Steve Spinelli, and Paul and Kathleen Zizza.

For a complete listing of current Chancellor's Associates members, please click here to view or print the list in PDF format and use your "back" button to return to this newsletter (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). We are deeply grateful for the contributions all of you are making, as well as your ongoing efforts to help recruit additional individuals to join UC Merced's premier donor group.

For more information about the Chancellor’s Associates, please contact Associate Vice Chancellor Mike Campbell at (209) 724-4402 or by e-mail at mcampbell@ucmerced.edu.



Construction of Recreation and Wellness Center


Construction continues on the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center, which will open in fall 2006.


The $1.365 million goal of the Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium Expansion Committee is coming into close view, with nearly $1.3 million in cash and pledges received to support development of the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center. Construction is proceeding at a good pace toward the scheduled opening this fall.

We wish to extend an apology to Mike Salvadori for inadvertently leaving his name off of the list of Gymnasium Expansion Committee members in the December 2005 edition of UC Merced Update. In addition to Mike Salvadori, the committee includes Sandee Boese, Mike Gallo, Billie Razzari, Ken Robbins and Ralph Temple. Thank you one and all!

The committee is now focused on the Bleacher Seat portion of the campaign, with bleacher seats still available for purchase at $1,000 each. To learn about purchasing one or more bleacher seats, please click here. Some donors have chosen to purchase multiple seats and name them for members of their family. Donors can designate the name or names to be placed on each seat. In addition, the names of donors will be featured on a special plaque that will be prominently displayed in the gymnasium to recognize donors.



Riggs Ambulance to Donate Late-Night Service for CatTracks Shuttle

CatTracks transit bus

As a public service in the interest of student and community safety, Riggs Ambulance Service (RAS) will sponsor UC Merced’s CatTracks shuttle service during the late-night weekend hours. The extended service hours will provide students with safe transportation back to the UC Merced campus following late-night activities in downtown Merced and at the Merced Mall.

“This generous offer from RAS will improve the options for our students and help them interact with the rest of Merced in a more convenient and satisfying way,” said UC Merced Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jane Lawrence. “We’re very grateful and pleased that RAS has been such a thoughtful friend in extending CatTracks service at no cost to the university.”

“RAS will pay the complete additional hourly costs of the extended service, including vehicles, fuel and drivers,” said Curtis Riggs on behalf of the company. “We want to provide an alternative to dangerous late-night driving for students on their way home from movies, work, restaurants, bars or other locations.”

Traveling from campus to popular Merced destinations and back on weekend nights soon will be made easier thanks to expanding CatTracks hours.



Founding Dean Announces Plans for Summer Departure

Kenji Hakuta

Kenji Hakuta


Kenji Hakuta, founding dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, recently announced plans to leave his administrative post and return to his former life as a scholar effective July 1, 2006. This semester he is teaching several classes and continuing his work to strengthen the foundation of the school.

"To prepare for a successful campus opening, we needed an individual with exceptional vision and energy to serve as founding dean," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "By every measure, Kenji has fulfilled our needs and exceeded expectations."

He also has been a leader in linking the university and its scholarship with key issues facing the Central Valley, from demographics and social issues to early education and community college transfer rates, according to Tomlinson-Keasey.

Previously the Vida Jacks Chair in Education at Stanford University, he was recruited by UC Merced as a founding dean and began his tenure at the new UC campus on July 1, 2003.

"Beyond his leadership role in founding the school, Kenji has made invaluable contributions to creating a campus culture that values academic excellence and promotes community interaction," said David B. Ashley, executive vice chancellor and provost. "Among his most enduring accomplishments is his recruitment of outstanding scholars to serve as our founding faculty."

Hakuta has cited the desire to resume his research in areas including educational access, second language acquisition and diversity in education, plus the need to care for his aging mother in the San Francisco Bay Area, as the primary motivations for his planned departure. He is considering offers from leading public and private universities in the state that would allow him to pursue his scholarship on a full-time basis.

"I came to Merced as the founding dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts because I wanted to help develop a campus with a mission of serving the needs of the Central Valley," Hakuta said. "I am pleased that UC Merced has been able to attract a high proportion of Valley students and a remarkably diverse group of students from throughout California in our opening year. In addition, I feel privileged to have helped chart the course for the school and campus. My wife Nancy and I have made many wonderful, lifelong friends in this wonderfully diverse community, and we will continue to advocate nationally on its behalf."


Governor's 2006-07 Budget Proposal Includes $24 Million for UC Merced

On January 10, 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a state budget proposal for 2006-07 that includes $24 million – $14 million in one-time, supplemental funding and $10 million in base funding – to sustain UC Merced's development. The $14 million in supplemental funds would support faculty recruitment, academic programs and other campus initiatives.

Representing a potential second year of increased state investment in the University of California system after four years of cuts, the governor's proposed budget fulfills his "compact with UC," a document which spells out anticipated state funding levels and university accountability measures over a multi-year period. His proposal funds student enrollment growth, uses state funds to "buy out" student fee increases, increases state funding for UC's initiative to train more science and math teachers, and invests in UC health care to underserved regions of California.

As the annual budget process moves forward, Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and Governmental Relations Director Larry Salinas will continue meeting with state legislators to keep them updated on campus initiatives and the ongoing need for state funds. As campus supporters, we welcome your efforts to connect with legislators, share your knowledge about UC Merced and its contributions in their districts, and discuss the importance of their support for campus development.

For information about the state budget process and to find out more about how you can assist, please contact Larry Salinas at (209) 724-4440 or by e-mail at lsalinas@ucmerced.edu.


New Campus Buildings are Opening for Business

Classroom building walkway view

Gazing upward from the arbor walkway of the Classroom Building affords this unique perspective on the home of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.


Marking an auspicious start of the new year, professors and students met for the first time in rooms within the Classroom Building when classes for the Spring 2006 semester began yesterday (January 17).

In the coming weeks, faculty and administrative staff members will move into their offices in the three-story building that is home to the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. The facility features classrooms and lecture halls that can accommodate up to 180 students, plus the Lakireddy Auditorium, which has received generous support from Dr. Hanimireddy Lakireddy and his family. The 377-seat performance-based venue will be the site of large class lectures and public presentations, including concerts, dramatic performances, and other educational, cultural and artistic events.

Just across the main quad, which soon will begin to undergo a transformation with landscaping, the Science and Engineering Building also is opening this semester for classes and instructional labs. This 174,000-square-foot building is dedicated to the School of Engineering, School of Natural Sciences, and the faculty, students and staff of both schools.

Down Scholars Lane and adjacent to the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center, construction will begin this spring on UC Merced's second phase of student housing. The 400 beds programmed for the Sierra Terraces will be reserved for freshman students and are scheduled to be available in Fall 2007.



Professor Fighting Antibiotic Resistance Through Scientific Research

Miriam Barlow

Miriam Barlow


Global health threats for the 21st century: AIDS, bird flu, bioterrorism – and bacteria? Yes, says Professor Miriam Barlow of the School of Natural Sciences.

“Many drug companies have stopped developing new antibiotics, and the rate at which antibiotic resistance emerges is increasing,” said Barlow. “If we don’t understand the problem, simple infections that are easily cured now could become serious health threats.”

Barlow studies resistance genes in bacteria like Salmonella, E.Coli and Staphylococcus, the most common antibiotic-resistant pathogens patients catch in hospitals. She hopes that the knowledge she gains will help drug companies identify antibiotics that will be more difficult for bacteria to resist. She will use the new, donor-funded Genome Center at UC Merced in her research.

So far, Barlow has been busy teaching and working to obtain funding from government agencies and private entities that support science. One recent success brought a grant from Li-cor Biosciences to help obtain a gene sequencer for teaching and student projects. This will allow Barlow to share her research interests with the students she’s already working to engage, perhaps creating future colleagues to help win the war on drug-resistant bugs.


Viney Seeks Children's Science Questions for Newspaper Column

Christopher Viney

Christopher Viney


Is there a curious child in your life? How about an adventurous teacher who encourages creative inquiry from his or her students?

Christopher Viney, a professor in the School of Engineering, is seeking questions from students in kindergarten through 12th grade to answer in his "It's a Good Thing You Asked" column that appears regularly in the Merced Sun-Star newspaper.

The goal of the column is to look at topics in science, engineering, technology and the natural world, emphasizing how ideas are connected across disciplines. Most recently, the column provided the answer to a student who asked, "What gives stars their color?"

Questions from students may be sent to Viney at cviney@ucmerced.edu. Teachers may choose to have students think of questions to submit as a class project or as part of a science unit, or students may submit their questions independently.



January 13, 2006
Modesto Bee
By Lorena Anderson

UC Merced welcomes new students

MERCED — The first time Ian Freeman saw the University of California at Merced, he was looking at a bare piece of property from the air.

While during survey work, he flew over what would become the campus.

January 9, 2006
Merced Sun-Star
By Rosalio Ahumada

ArtWalk eases stress

As a painter, Gail Benedict knows about the agony that comes with showing your artwork in public for the first time.

The excruciating fears of misperceptions or downright rejection are something that can keep art hidden in the dark.

January 8, 2006
Bend Bulletin
By Lily Raff

A university is born

Bob Carpenter's first stroll through the new university campus here was something of a victory lap.

For the last 17 years, Carpenter, 63, has led a grassroots charge to bring a University of California campus to this rural town.

December 27, 2005
Merced Sun-Star
By Rosalio Ahumada

A look back at 2005: UC Merced opens to much pomp, circumstance

A 17-year anticipation buildup came alive on Sept. 5 when the University of California, Merced, opened its doors for the debut year.

Dressed in graduation regalia, hundreds of pioneering students paraded into the opening day ceremony, which kicked off the Monday morning celebration.

December 20, 2005
Modesto Bee
By Lorena Anderson

UC Merced term over in a 'nanosecond'

MERCED — What a difference 13 weeks makes.

Students, faculty and staff, so nervous and excited when University of California at Merced opened just after Labor Day, say they are over many of the small hurdles that go with opening a brand new college and are looking forward to next semester.

December 19, 2005
Merced Sun-Star
By Rosalio Ahumada

Renowned Berkeley scientist set to join faculty at UC Merced

Raymond Chiao wants to prove Albert Einstein right and he wants to do it at the University of California, Merced.

In what campus leaders called a major recruiting triumph, the renowned UC Berkeley physicist is joining the UC Merced faculty on Jan. 1.


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