UC Merced Update - Launching the future!


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

APRIL 6, 2005



Our gratitude goes out to all of you who made last month's meeting at the UC Merced Center in Fresno such a success! Held just shy of six months before the grand opening, the March meeting afforded an opportunity to review how far we have come and what is on the horizon in terms of campus development, including our first undergraduate student admissions process. Thanks largely to the names submitted by so many of you, we also had a record attendance of 160 regional leaders at the VIP reception hosted by Trustees and UC Merced at the Fresno Grizzlies 600 Club.

Highlights included the announcement of new partnerships and support for the campus missions of increasing educational opportunity, research and public service. Bolstering our efforts to expand educational programming and services throughout the San Joaquin Valley, a donation from Kern County-based Paramount Farms will support the expansion of UC Merced's student outreach initiatives in that region. More specifically, the Paramount Farms funding will benefit the UC Scholars Early Academic Outreach Program, which provides academic preparation services to Kern County students.

We also celebrated a generous gift from the Educational Employees Credit Union of Fresno to support the Early Care and Education Center (ECEC) at UC Merced. Funding from the credit union will support technology needs of the research and observation area for the ECEC, which is planned as a state-of-the-art child development and early education facility. In addition, marking the start of a collaboration between the campus and the Laval Family Trust, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to allow the UC Merced Library to restore and provide access to a valuable collection of regional photographs taken by early California photographer Claude C. "Pop" Laval. Please see the Campus News section of this UC Merced Update for additional details about these two partnerships.

Finally, please hold the date for our next Foundation Board of Trustees meeting in San Jose on June 22. More information will be forthcoming.



We were excited to see the shared enthusiasm of Foundation Diplomats as Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and Assistant Chancellor Janet Young provided an update on planning for events associated with the grand opening during the March meeting in Fresno. Your offers to support these activities with your time and assistance are welcome and appreciated.

Volunteers are still needed in a variety of areas heavily focused on student events – prospective student receptions in April and student orientation programs in July and August in particular – and opening day activities.

To those of you who have already submitted the volunteer form handed out at the meeting, we offer our thanks. Any of you who are interested in volunteering to help with the upcoming events are encouraged to contact Patricia O'Connor in University Advancement at (209) 724-4401 or by e-mail at poconnor@ucmerced.edu.



The annual Chancellor's Associates tour of the campus is just around the corner on May 18. You won't want to miss this opportunity to see how UC Merced is taking shape just off the shores of Lake Yosemite. Along with a tour, members will be invited to hear a campus update and socialize at a reception by the lake. Official invitations will be sent out in the coming weeks.

Please join us in welcoming new members Cyril and Andrea Lawrence and Phil and Carol Hamm. We also would like to acknowledge our recently renewing Chancellor's Associates members Jim and Bebe Burke, Dennis and Novie Heppner, Al and Lynda Osborn, Toki and Amrit Takhar, and Calvin Bright.

A very special thanks to Chancellor's Associates members George, Carla, Kevin and Cindy Kelley along with Bob and Bryan Kelley for designating the proceeds from their 10th annual Ma Kelley Memorial Golf Tournament to support the purchase of recreation equipment at UC Merced. Information on the Ma Kelley tournament can be found in the following section and attached invitation. Please note that the social, dinner, live auction and dancing are open to all Chancellor's Associates.

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.

Ma Kelley Tournament at Stevinson Ranch

Golfers of all abilities are invited to tee off April 29 at Stevinson Ranch Golf Club and help future UC Merced students at the same time. For the 10th annual Ma Kelley Memorial Golf Tournament, George, Kevin, Bob and Bryan Kelley of Stevinson Ranch have chosen to donate funds raised from the event to purchase recreational equipment for students. This year's event will be called the Ma Kelley Memorial Shoot-Out. Even if you don't play in the tournament, please join us for the social, dinner, live auction and dancing.

This day on the green and evening festivities promise to be enjoyable for all. We encourage you to join us and bring your friends! For complete information, please click here to view or print the invitation and RSVP card in pdf format (use your back button to return to this newsletter). If you would like to participate, please RSVP by April 15.

Bleacher Seat Campaign Takes Off

We are most appreciative for all of the support received throughout the campaign to expand the gymnasium in the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center, and most recently through our Bleacher Seat Campaign. Comprised of Merced community leaders Sandee Boese, Mike Gallo, Billie Razzari, Ken Robbins, Mike Salvadori and Ralph Temple, the campaign committee is spearheading the drive toward our ultimate goal of $1.365 million. To date the campaign has raised more than $970,000. The Bleacher Seat Campaign is the final formal portion of our fundraising efforts, offering the option of purchasing one to five bleacher seats for $1,000 each. Names of all donors will be placed on a plaque adjacent to the bleacher seats in the expanded gymnasium. This final segment of the campaign was officially started two weeks ago, with $45,000 already raised as we go to press.

We thank everyone that has contributed to making the campaign a great success.

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



Business Leader and Family Promote Future of Entrepreneurship

Frederick "Fred" Ruiz

Frederick "Fred" Ruiz


UC Regent and UC Merced Trustee Frederick "Fred" Ruiz, chairman of Ruiz Foods, and his wife, Mitzie, were honored recently for their ongoing support of the campus and a $500,000 endowment pledge to fund the Ruiz Family Chair in Entrepreneurship.

"By fostering the spirit of entrepreneurialism, the Ruiz family is making a critical investment both in the UC Merced campus and in the economic well-being of our region and state," said Kenji Hakuta, dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. "The academic focus of this gift is especially meaningful coming from the Ruizes, who have created one of the most exceptional American entrepreneurial success stories. Their vision and dedication will be an inspiration to our students."

Equipped with family recipes and the dream of selling authentic Mexican food, Fred and his father, Louis Ruiz, teamed up to form Ruiz Foods in 1964. From its humble beginnings in a small warehouse, Ruiz Foods has grown tremendously and is currently the nation's top manufacturer of frozen Mexican food. The company, now largely managed by the third generation of the Ruiz family, has more than 1,800 employees and is the largest private employer in Tulare County.

Last year, Ruiz ranked 17th among the top 500 Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States and 2nd among the top 10 U.S. Hispanic-owned manufacturing firms according to Hispanic Business Magazine, June 2004.

The Ruiz Family Chair in Entrepreneurship is the 16th endowed chair committed to UC Merced. Assigned to support management programs within the future Ernest and Julio Gallo School of Management, the chair is currently assigned to the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

UC Merced Participates in COINS Nanomechanical Center

Hairs on a housefly's foot

Nanomechanical research at UC Merced will include efforts to create useful technology modeled after natural phenomena, such as these nano-sized sticky hairs found on a housefly's foot.

UC Merced is a partner in a recently awarded $12 million National Science Foundation grant to establish the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS) over the next five years. COINS research aims to develop machines that are versatile and efficient due to their ultra-small size – most can be seen only under an electron microscope.

UC Berkeley leads work on COINS. UC Merced will participate in the center along with the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University. Ultimately, COINS will comprise facilities and cooperative research at all four institutions.

COINS researchers will seek to create nanomechanical "building blocks" – microscopically small tubes, wires and other basic shapes – and understand their properties. Then they can proceed with theories and experiments about how to put those pieces together into useful systems. Research from COINS may eventually impact chemical and biological sensing, medical diagnostics, data storage, computation, communication and power generation.

As one of its important emphases, the center will help prepare students to participate in the growing field of nanotechnology as part of its mission.

"We plan to direct UC Merced’s share of the grant toward funding undergraduate research internships in UC Merced investigators’ labs, the development of online course tools in nanotechnology and summer internships," said Professor Valerie Leppert, the principal investigator for the UC Merced portion of the COINS grant.

Admissions and Financial Aid Offices in High Gear

More than 6,000 freshman applicants have received the good news of their admission to the new UC campus, according to Encarnación Ruíz, director of the Office of Admissions/Relations with Schools and Colleges. The transfer admissions process is ongoing and most applicants can expect to be notified several days prior to the April 30 deadline. For prospective undergraduate students who are admitted, the next significant step is to submit a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). This year's SIR deadline for prospective freshman is May 2, while the SIR deadline for transfer applicants is June 1.

Offers of financial assistance also are starting to make their way from our Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to students approved for undergraduate admission. Among the most prestigious of these awards is the Regents Scholarship, which represents one of the highest honors given to a UC Merced student. Recipients were chosen by a faculty committee after rigorous review of their academic records and achievements. The scholarship offers students – both freshmen and transfers – a minimum honorarium of $7,000 a year. Additional financial assistance is provided to students demonstrating financial need.

Prior to opening day, several events are lined up to provide admitted students with additional information and encourage them to consider our campus as their final choice, including Bobcat Day on April 23 in Merced. Admitted students and their families are invited to this very special day of activities, including presentations ranging from academics to student life; campus tours; information booths staffed by the three schools, the library, student services, admissions and more; and other enlightening and entertaining events. Families also will be encouraged to visit downtown Merced, where the local community – spearheaded by the Community Partnership Alliance – is planning a host of welcoming activities including music, tours and special discounts at businesses.

Library to Collaborate on Preservation, Access for Laval Photo Collection

Bruce Miller, Elizabeth Laval and Emily Lin

University Librarian Bruce Miller, Elizabeth Laval and Digital Assets Librarian Emily Lin celebrated the signing of the MOU at the VIP reception in Fresno on March 9.

Early California photographer Claude C. "Pop" Laval amassed a huge body of excellent work that is now considered a crucial visual record of the history of the San Joaquin Valley. Ensuring that Laval’s legacy continues into the future, UC Merced recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Laval Family Trust allowing the UC Merced Library to collaborate to restore, preserve and provide access to the collection.

Library staff members have become experts at digitizing access to visual art as they’ve worked on projects such as the Lee Collection of Japanese art. Using that expertise, the library will provide electronic research access to the collection, accessible to all visitors to the library’s Web site. The Laval Family Trust will continue to own the physical collection and the commercial rights related to the objects and images.

Elizabeth Laval, Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, and University Librarian Bruce Miller signed the MOU on March 9 at the VIP reception associated with UC Merced’s quarterly trustees’ meeting. Surrounded by large prints of striking images from the collection, the signers and their associates expressed great optimism for their collaborative plans.

"Time was running out for these images," said Elizabeth Laval. "With the help of UC Merced, we will assure that they are accessible far into the future."

Campus Recruits Founding Police Chief

Rita Spaur

Rita Spaur


Marking another significant milestone in campus development, Rita Spaur has been appointed as the founding chief of police at UC Merced. Formerly the interim chief of police at UC Davis, Spaur was the highest-ranking woman in the UC Davis Police Department.

"Rita Spaur emerged as our top candidate for this critical leadership position based on her extensive experience in both municipal and campus police services as well as her intimate understanding of the University of California," said Vice Chancellor for Administration Lindsay Desrochers. "Simply put, her qualifications are uniquely matched to the needs of our campus."

As founding chief of police, Spaur is charged with development and management of the police department; responsibility for all campus law enforcement services; coordination of emergency preparedness programs with other campus officials; and collaboration with city, county and state agencies for supplemental law enforcement and fire protection services.

"Building a police department from the ground up is a dream position for many law enforcement leaders and I am thrilled to have this opportunity," said Spaur. "My goal is to work with the UC Merced team to create a community-oriented university police department that is both proactive and responsive to university needs. I also look forward to working closely with local officials to develop and maintain positive relations between the university and community."

With 30 years of experience in law enforcement, Spaur's career includes approximately 20 years with the University of California system managing all aspects of police operations.

Credit Union Lends Support to Early Care and Education Center

Children playing with alphabet letters

The Early Care and Education Center will serve as a model for how universities can contribute to the advancement of child care theory and practice through integration with academic programs.


Fresno-based Educational Employees Credit Union (EECU) recently made a $200,000 commitment to fund technology needs of the research and observation area of the UC Merced Early Care and Education Center. Planned as a state-of-the-art child development and early education facility, the innovative center will be managed by the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

The center also will provide a living laboratory for studies of cognitive and social development, offer professional development in early childhood education and school readiness, and help train future child care professionals.

The center also has received critical financial support from the Merced County Office of Education, Merced County First Five Children and Families Commission, and UC Office of the President.

Technology made possible through EECU funding will facilitate valuable research and increase accessibility to the center's programs and services. Founded in 1934 as one of California's first credit unions and currently the largest financial institution in the Central San Joaquin Valley, EECU has a strong history of supporting educational causes.



Teenie Matlock to Speak on Physical and Abstract Space in Castle Lecture Series

The Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series continues Saturday, April 16 with "How People Think About Physical and Abstract Space," a presentation by Professor Teenie Matlock of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. The lecture begins at the Castle Science and Technology Center, located at 3460 Challenger Way in Atwater, at 10 a.m. Matlock says her lecture will address how physical experience, especially motion, drives how people understand abstract, non-physical spaces, such as time, the internet, math and love, especially through the portal of language.

Chancellor's Forum Opens April 14 in Merced

Starting eight days from today, UC Merced will launch the 2005 Chancellor’s Forum Lecture Series. The purpose of the educational lecture series is tri-fold: to increase awareness and understanding of the San Joaquin Valley’s first UC campus and the only major research university in the region; to help generate enthusiasm for the opening of the campus in fall 2005; and to grow support for UC Merced throughout the Valley. The lectures will be held at the university’s centers in Merced, Bakersfield and Fresno, and at the Great Valley Center in Modesto.

Promoting UC Merced faculty and highlighting various university research projects and areas of emphasis, Chancellor's Forum events are free and open to the public.

The following lectures are planned for the month of April:

Thursday, April 14
Sam Traina, professor, and Roger Bales, professor
Quenching the Valley's Thirst: The Connection Between Sierra Nevada Snowpack and Regional Water Supply
5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., Tri-College Center in Merced
RSVP: specialevents@ucmerced.edu, phone: (209) 724-4416

Tuesday, April 19
Maria Pallavicini, dean and professor, and David Ojcius, professor
Infection and Infertility: The Often Silent But Serious Link
5:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., UC Merced Center in Fresno
RSVP: jeanie.smith@ucop.edu, phone (559) 241-7510

World Cultures Institute Forums Coming Soon

To help set the stage for the World Cultures Institute (WCI), a series of open forums is planned to mark the start of this signature research institute. The institute will be dedicated to the study and exchange of ideas about the range of peoples who have populated California, as well as the politics, economy, environment, arts, history, language and literatures of these cultures. Members of the public – especially representatives of social service and cultural organizations – are invited to participate in the trio of forums that will culminate in a more formal academic conference later this year.

Titled Cultural Research in the Twenty-First Century: Designing the UC Merced World Cultures Institute, the purpose of the meetings is to create a lively dialogue on cultural issues in the Central Valley between UC Merced faculty and the community.

Each session will feature introductory remarks and panel discussion by UC Merced faculty members, plus an open forum and question-and-answer period. "Health, Education and the Environment: Promoting Cultural Issues in Public Policy" will be presented on April 22 at the UC Merced Center in Fresno, "Migration and Transnational Cultures: Understanding the People of the Central Valley in the Context of the World" will be presented on May 20 at the UC Merced Center in Bakersfield, and "Museums, Parks and Libraries: Supporting Regional Arts and Culture" will be presented on June 17 at Modesto's Great Valley Center. To RSVP for any session that is part of the Cultural Research in the 21st Century: Designing the UC Merced World Cultures Institute series, please contact Mary Treasure at (209) 724-2950 or at mtreasure@ucmerced.edu.



April 1, 2005
Fresno Bee
By Jim Steinberg

UC Merced sets up chair in Ruiz's name

UC Merced has honored Fred Ruiz, whose Dinuba-based company is the country's leading manufacturer of frozen Mexican food, by establishing the Ruiz Family Chair in Entrepreneurship to nurture the region's spirit and commitment to business success.

Gov. Schwarzenegger named Ruiz in July to the University of California Board of Regents, and UC Merced's permanent Ruiz chair recognizes the family's $500,000 endowment pledge. Interest generated by the Ruiz donation will support the permanent faculty position for teaching, research and public service in the field of entrepreneurship and related disciplines.

March 18, 2005
Modesto Bee

Cooperation is best way to ensure future of valley and its universities

We applaud the University of California at Merced for partnering with California State University, Fresno, to research air, water and other environmental issues confronting the San Joaquin Valley.

These projects will leverage the strengths of an established state university and the newest UC campus to pursue challenges that don't stop at county lines. These issues must be confronted on a regional basis and the two campuses have the resources and the commitment to lead that effort.

March 16, 2005
Fresno Bee
By Jennifer M. Fitzenberger

Merced campus outlives its critics

SACRAMENTO — Politics and an unstable state budget for years had jeopardized the completion of UC Merced, scheduled to open in September with 1,000 students.

Lawmakers looking for ways to trim state spending turned time and time again to the University of California's 10th campus. Some questioned whether the state should build a new school during tough budget times, and others criticized it as a project pushed by developers who cared little about higher education.

March 14, 2005
Fresno Bee
By Jim Steinberg

Universities may pool talents

Science faculty members from Fresno State and UC Merced are discussing joint research to address air, water and other environmental issues confronting the San Joaquin Valley.

The two universities also are pursuing collaborative use of faculty, students and scientific equipment. Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey said Wednesday in Fresno that the University of California at Merced recognizes that a sound foundation in science will be critical for UC's success in the Valley, including eventual establishment of a UC Merced medical school.

March 13, 2005
Fresno Bee
By Jim Boren (editorial)

UC Merced chancellor blazes path for Valley campus

Dr. Carol Tomlinson-Keasey is the first chancellor of the University of California at Merced, but her role has stretched far beyond the job description. Opening this university has made her a 21st century pioneer, and she's only six months away from the payoff that campus critics predicted would never come.

On Sept. 6, UC Merced will begin offering classes to its first 1,000 students. It's no small thing that Tomlinson-Keasey and her spirited staff are bringing the prestige of a world-class university system to a region of the state that UC had long ignored.

March 9, 2005
Merced Sun-Star
By Rosalio Ahumada

UC Merced picks top cop from UC Davis department

University of California, Merced, has a new top cop.

Rita Spaur, interim police chief at the University of California, Davis, has been recruited to be UC Merced's founding police chief, said Patti Waid Istas, a UC Merced spokeswoman.


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