UC Merced Update newsletter


January 20, 2005

UC Merced Supporters:
Welcome to this edition of UC Merced Update, your inside look at recent campus news and development.

UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees

Our special thanks go out to Trustee Bill Fowler, who has done so much to facilitate the upcoming March 9 meeting of the Foundation Board of Trustees. We’re excited to announce this meeting will be held in the heart of Silicon Valley at the headquarters of Cisco Systems, Inc. in San José. As Senior Managing Partner for Global Education for Cisco Systems, Inc., Bill Fowler also will be our host for the day.

Be on the lookout for your "Save the Date" notice for the March meeting and the VIP reception to follow. Also arriving in your mailboxes soon are letters seeking your suggestions for business, political and community leaders from the Bay Area we should invite to the reception.

Additional information about the meeting will be forthcoming. However, if you have any questions about the logistics, please contact Liz Essay in Special Events at (209) 724-4438.

Foundation Diplomats events also are in the planning stage for March 9, when the Diplomats will next convene. More details will be on the way soon about the agenda for Diplomats, who will meet at Cisco Systems, Inc. for a working lunch and tour, followed by a tour of other sites of interest in San José . A special VIP reception will round out the day’s events.

Chancellor's Associates Update

On behalf of the Chancellor’s Associates and Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium Expansion Campaign committee members, Associate Vice Chancellor Mike Campbell is excited to report that gifts and pledges have reached the $840,000 mark. The campaign goal is $1.4 million. The latest figure represents a $90,000 advance since Chancellor’s Associates were updated on the campaign progress at the holiday party in December 2004.

Looking back on that memorable holiday gathering, we would like to offer another round of thanks to Chancellor’s Associates member Mike Gallo, for hosting this outstanding affair, and providing such delicious food and drink for the occasion.

We also wish to again acknowledge Chancellor’s Associates member and County Bank President Tom Hawker for making it possible to host the event on the first floor of the historic Mondo Building. This was probably the last opportunity to have an event in the location, which is in the midst of renovation for eventual occupation by County Bank.

Please join us in welcoming back renewing Chancellor’s Associates members Kenneth and Greta Elia, Greg and Sara Martinez Tucker, Laverne and Sonia Caldeira, Allen and Denice Carden, Claude and Terri Ellison, the Mary Lyons family, Dr. Tim and Lisa Dylina, and Paul and Kathleen Zizza.

For additional 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.

Campus News

9,000 Students Apply for Admission to UC Merced


Preliminary application numbers indicate strong student interest in UC Merced from the San Joaquin Valley and throughout California. – Photo by Roger J. Wyan


More than 9,000 students have applied to UC Merced for admission to undergraduate and graduate programs in fall 2005, according to preliminary numbers released today. Included in that total are approximately 8,000 applications for freshman admission, 900 applications for transfer admission and 170 applications for graduate study. Projections have called for the campus to enroll 1,000 students in its opening year.

"We are thrilled with this response from students and pleased to say the number of applicants has even exceeded our expectations," says Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "These results are a clear validation of the UC Regents’ decision in 1988 to plan for a new UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley. The student response also is a tribute to the efforts of so many people in this community and throughout the state who have supported the development of UC Merced over the years."

According to the preliminary reports, UC Merced’s opening-year applicant pool includes approximately 1,110 students from the San Joaquin Valley. The initial numbers also indicated that UC Merced has strong appeal for students statewide. For example, nearly 2,500 applications come from the San Francisco Bay Area and about 2,600 applications come from students in Los Angeles.

Overall, freshman applications from San Joaquin Valley students to the UC system have grown from 3,000 last year to 3,500 this year. The presence of UC Merced in the heart of the region and the impact of campus academic preparation programs are among the factors contributing to that increase.

Governor’s Budget Plan Includes $24 Million for UC Merced

On Jan. 10, 2005, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration proposed a 2005-06 budget plan that includes $24 million – $10 million in base funding and $14 million in supplemental funding – to support the development of UC Merced. Campus administrators are pleased with the governor’s recognition of the importance of opening the campus and his ongoing support, especially given the continued fiscal difficulties faced by the State of California.

Last year's budget allocation for UC Merced was the pivotal funding needed to guarantee a fall 2005 opening. However, a $4.8 million gap between funds requested by the campus and funds proposed by the governor means that UC Merced would need to tighten plans for opening.

For the University of California system, which has endured four years of substantial cuts, the spending plan proposed by Gov. Schwarzenegger provides an overall increase in state funding. The proposed increase includes funding for student enrollment growth, faculty and staff compensation, as well as the opening of UC Merced. The proposal fulfills the "Compact" made last year between the governor and UC. This agreement provides the University with new budget stability by establishing funding and performance expectations over a multi-year period.

With the 2005-06 budget bills now working their way through hearings in the Senate and Assembly, UC Merced is seeking assistance from campus supporters willing to talk with legislators about the importance of closing the funding gap. In particular, the campus is planning for the annual UC Day in Sacramento on Tues., Feb. 15 followed by a campus dinner that evening. Anyone interested in helping Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and the University by participating in legislative visits on that day can contact Director of Government Relations Larry Salinas at (209) 724-4440 or by e-mail at lsalinas@ucmerced.edu. Fresno and Bakersfield area advocates are especially encouraged to take part.

Adjunct Professor van Breugel Leads Star Formation Discovery

Van Bruegel simulation
Willem van Breugel and his colleagues have discovered that radio jets from black holes can trigger star formation.


UC Merced adjunct professor Willem van Breugel and a team of astronomers have discovered how black holes can form new stars. Van Breugel and his colleague Steve Croft have shown that Minkowski’s Object, a peculiar starburst system in the NGC 541 radio galaxy, formed when a radio jet – undetectable in visible light but revealed by radio observations – emitted from a black hole collided with dense gas. They carried out the observations after computer simulations at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) showed that jets might trigger the collapse of interstellar clouds and induce star formation.

"Some 20 years ago, this kind of thinking was thought to be science fiction," says van Breugel, who works with Croft at LLNL’s Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics along with his adjunct appointment at UC Merced. "It brings poetic justice to black holes because we think of them as sucking things in, but we’ve shown that when a jet emits from a black hole, it can bring new life by collapsing clouds and creating new stars."

Van Breugel also notes that the conditions his team saw in NGC 541 may be important in understanding the formation of galaxies in the early universe. "Our observations show that jets from black holes can trigger extra star formation. In the early universe this process may be important because the galaxies are still young, with lots of hydrogen gas but few stars, and the black holes are more active," he said.

Engineering Prepares First Student Club for Fall 2005

Crystal Wuebker and Jeff Wright

Dean Jeff Wright and Crystal Wuebker are preparing to welcome engineering students into their own club, complete with field trips and social events.


The School of Engineering aims to enhance student life for its initial group of students with the first UC Merced student club, giving it the name "Vanguard" in honor of the pioneering spirit of the students.

"We’ll have meetings, field trips to facilities like Google or Lawrence Livermore National Labs, tutorial services, a newsletter, and social events," explains Vanguard president Crystal Wuebker, who was originally set to be a transfer student in 2004 but became a university employee when UC Merced’s opening was delayed by the state budget crisis. She’ll be back to student status in fall 2005.

Overall, Wuebker says, Vanguard aims to make Merced a comfortable place to study and live for students coming from other parts of the San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Eventually, Vanguard will become the umbrella organization for student chapters of engineering societies such as the American Society of Civil Engineering and the Society of Women Engineers. The club will help students in all the organizations stay in contact with Dean of Engineering Jeff Wright.

"Dean Wright is open; he wants to hear from students about their problems, concerns and ideas," Wuebker said.

Wuebker has recruited students from Merced College and hopes to broaden the club’s outreach to high schools and additional community colleges in the region. In turn, the Offices of Admissions and Student Life will help Vanguard reach prospective engineering students and integrate with the student government that will form in UC Merced’s first year.

Recent Media Coverage

January 16, 2005
Modesto Bee

Getting valley kids through college: A mixed forecast

The weather report on the valley's educational achievements remains gray and gloomy. We're less educated than the rest of the state, a fact contributing to our lower income levels, poorer health and lackluster results in attracting good-paying employers. But we're seeing some intermittent sunshine:

BRIGHT SPOT: About 9,000 students applied for the 1,000 spaces available for the September opening of the University of California, Merced. Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey said the plan is to add 800 students each year and "get to 5,000 as soon as I can."

January 14, 2005
Modesto Bee
By Melanie Turner

Colleges pleased by proposed budget

Community college students wouldn't see their costs increase. The University of California, Merced, would open in August. And there would be no surprises for people at California State University, Stanislaus.

That's if Gov. Schwarzenegger's 2005-06 budget proposal is approved as written.

After several years of substantial cuts, the proposal calls for $17.7 billion for higher education statewide — $887 million, or 5.3 percent, more than the current budget.

January 12, 2005
Fresno Bee
By Donald Coleman

Fresno forum discusses stem cell research

A new California program designed to use stem cells for curing chronic diseases needs to increase participation among ethnic groups with rare afflictions, researchers said Tuesday.

"We need to increase diversity," Keith Alley said at a forum aimed at educating the public about issues surrounding the controversial research. Alley is vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies at the University of California at Merced.

December 29, 2004
Fresno Bee
By Felicia Cousart Matlosz

UC Merced applications cutoff Feb. 1 for fall '05

As the application deadline nears for UC Merced's graduate programs, applications are coming from around the world for the University of California's 10th campus.

The deadline is Feb. 1 to apply for the fall 2005 semester of master's and doctor's programs. The inaugural semester starts Sept. 6.

December 27, 2004
Merced Sun-Star
By David Chircop

UC benefits may not reach all

The University of California's 10th campus is positioned to propel the region's job market into the next century, but some fear the much-anticipated economic engine will leave many of its minority residents behind.

As of 2002, only one in 10 black Merced County high school students was eligible to attend a University of California or California State University campus, according to a recent report released by a national minority advocacy group.

December 22, 2004
Merced Sun-Star
By Scott Pesznecker

County OKs university community

Merced County supervisors signed off on the concept for a massive development that planners said was critical to the new University of California, Merced, campus.

Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the University Community Plan, amending the county's general plan to allow 11,600 homes on 2,100 acres on agricultural land.

Contact Us

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