UC Merced Update mastehead


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


April 18, 2008



Ruben Navarrette Jr., Will Headline 2008 Commencement Ceremony

Ruben Navarrette, Jr.


Syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr., a sought-after expert on ethnicity and national origin, will address the University of California, Merced, Class of 2008 at its commencement exercise on May 23.

Navarrette is a native of the Fresno-Sanger area who earned his bachelor and master’s degrees from Harvard University. The descendent of Mexican immigrants, he writes for the editorial pages of the San Diego Union Tribune and is one of only 10 Latino syndicated columnists in the United States. He has also appeared on numerous national news Web sites, television shows and radio shows as a commentator. He is the author of “A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano.”

The commencement ceremony will be at 10 a.m. May 23 on the quad between the Kolligian Library and the Classroom and Science & Engineering buildings on the campus.

Third Building Awarded LEED "Gold" Certification for Environmental Excellence

Classroom and Office Building
UC Merced remains on track to become the first campus in the nation to attain LEED "Silver" certification or better for all structures.


The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded LEED "Gold" certification, signifying excellence in environmentally responsible design, construction and operation, to the Classroom and Office Building at UC Merced.

The building is the third at the newest UC campus to earn USGBC's LEED "Gold" certification.  The Central Plant complex and the Leo & Dottie Kolligian Library earned the same distinction within the last year.

The USGBC is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable building practices under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) program. It rates buildings for environmental performance on a five-tier scale, awarding points for meeting or exceeding standards on 69 different measures. "Gold" is the second-highest level of achievement.

UC Merced is the only university in the country to establish LEED "Silver" (one level lower than "Gold") as its baseline for all buildings on campus. Of the four buildings USGBC has rated to date, three have exceeded this goal and the fourth, the Valley Terraces and Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Commons, has met it.  More

Regents Name U of Texas Head Yudof to UC President’s Post

Mark Yudof


The UC Regents have named University of Texas Chancellor Mark Yudof to head the 10-campus UC system, succeeding President Robert C. Dynes, who announced he would resign from his post last year.

The appointment was made by unanimous vote of the Regents during a special meeting March 27 following a search committee’s recommendation the previous week.  Yudof’s appointment will become effective this summer.

“I am deeply honored by this appointment,” said Yudof.  “The University of California stands as a model for the world, creating tomorrow’s leaders and innovators and helping to solve many of society’s most pressing problems.  I can think of no greater personal privilege than to have the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution.”  More



Young Faculty Award for Sharping to Help Close Quantum Computing Gaps

Jay Sharping


Professor Jay Sharping of the School of Natural Sciences has received a Young Faculty Award from the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – the agency that originated the technology that evolved into the Internet.

Sharping’s $150,000 grant will fund his work bringing together different pieces of existing research into usable technology for quantum computing. Specifically, Sharping will be developing strategies for bringing quantum-computing communications using infrared light into a working arrangement with technology for reading quantum information that works best with visible light. The project will last 18 months, and DARPA encourages further growth following successful investigations. More



Engineering Students Attend National Conference Thanks To PG&E Funding

engineering students
Five UC Merced students attended the NSBE conference in Florida, funded by PG&E and the Office of the Dean of the School of Engineering.


Five undergraduate students from the School of Engineering braved all-night flights, lost luggage and a killer time difference to attend the conference of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in Orlando, Fla., last month, attending meetings and workshops and exploring their options for employment or grad school. Funds from Pacific Gas & Electric’s million-dollar donation to the school enabled the group to make the trip.

“It was a great experience to get out and meet the companies and schools and get ready for the next steps,” said Andres Garcia, a UC Merced junior from Visalia majoring in environmental engineering. He met with representatives from PG&E, Lockheed Martin, PBS&J, Conoco Philips and the University of Houston.

UC Merced NSBE vice president Anley “T” Tefera said School of Engineering staffers Linda Zubke and Tomiko Hale helped the group execute their plans for the trip.

“They’ve been really, really, really great,” Tefera said. “Without them, I don’t think we’d be as strong as we are now.”

Hale accompanied the students on the trip and advocated engineering graduate studies at UC Merced at the Saturday grad school fair.

“I feel like we were putting UC Merced on the map,” Tefera said. He is a junior bioengineering major originally from Ethiopia.

NSBE organized at UC Merced last fall under the student leadership of Tefera and club president Christian Ayeni, a junior in bioengineering, and with significant support from Dean Jeff Wright and his office staff.

Students Allison “A.J.” Watkins, a freshman chemistry major, and Stephanie Sullivan, a junior biology major, attended the NSBE conference along with Garcia, Tefera and Ayeni.



Nonimaging Optics Lab Receives $2 Million Gift

Roland Winston
The California Community Foundation is supporting solar energy research at UC Merced with a $2 million gift.


UC Merced has received a $2 million gift from the California Community Foundation (CCF) to support the university's Nonimaging Optics (NIO) Lab, a facility developing new technologies that are improving the potential for solar resources to supply a substantial fraction of the world's energy needs.

“UC Merced is proud to be a leader in solar concentration research, and this magnificent gift will solidify that position,” said Dean Jeff Wright of the School of Engineering. “Our Nonimaging Optics Lab has already gained worldwide recognition as a leader in this field, and this funding will enable even more rapid innovation.”

The NIO Lab – a cornerstone of the planned Merced Energy Research Institute – is the brainchild of Professor Roland Winston. Winston and his team of researchers are engineering new concentrator designs that will make solar energy more efficient and more affordable to implement.

The gift from CCF, a Los Angeles-based philanthropic organization, recognizes the contributions of Winston and UC Merced's NIO Lab and will serve as a catalyst for NIO Lab research projects by providing research infrastructure, student support and international linkages with the top energy engineers and scientists around the world. More



Here’s a look at the latest news from our Alumni Affairs Office:

Graduation 2007 class gift
In 2007, UC Merced’s graduates continued the tradition of giving a gift to the university.


Class Gift
The graduating class of 2008 has chosen to give the university an academic mace. The academic mace is an historic symbol of the authority of a college or university to confer degrees. The graduates are working with the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network to raise funds for the gift.

For more information or if you would like to make a donation to the class gift, please call Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Martinez at (209) 228-ALUM.

Spring Reception - April 28
The San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network Spring Reception with the Chancellor will be held on Monday, April 28, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Spring Reception recognizes UC alumni and will honor the UC Merced Class of 2008. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at https://epay.ucmerced.edu/alumni or by calling (209) 228-ALUM.  Ticket proceeds will benefit the Class of 2008 Gift.




Wednesday, June 11, 2008

UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees Meeting

UC Merced Campus

More information will follow in your mailing packet and will be posted at trustees.ucmerced.edu. Contact Shannon Blackwood at (209) 228-4401 for login information.


Spring Reception in the Chancellor’s Garden May 1

Chancellor’s Associates members are invited to attend the annual spring reception in the Chancellor’s garden at the University House at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 1.  For more information, contact (209) 228-RSVP.


Chancellor's Associates is a premier group of donors who are recognized for their annual gifts of $1,000 or more to be used to fund the university’s greatest needs. Your gift to the Chancellor’s Associates provides the Chancellor with the opportunity to enhance UC Merced’s mission of teaching, research and public service. For more information on becoming a Chancellor's Associates member, contact Chiara Sill at (209) 205-8753.



Fairy Shrimp Festival Highlights Arts, Crafts and Sustainability, April 19

The third annual Fairy Shrimp Festival offers a wide variety of arts, crafts and environmental booths hosted by the Office of Student Life. This year’s program theme, "Change Your Habits, Change Your Future” will showcase how small changes can make a big difference. The festival will once again be held in conjunction with Bobcat Day, the premier recruiting event during admissions season.

The festival, which is scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 19, is free and open to everyone. A live band, the Super Lucky Catz, will entertain attendees from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. outside of the Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center on Scholars Lane.

For more information about the Fairy Shrimp Festival, contact Jim Greenwood at (209) 228-2582. You can also learn more by visiting studentlife.ucmerced.edu.

Partnership Allows Public to Support Students While Also Taking in a Show

A partnership between UC Merced and the Gallo Center for the Arts allows members of the community to support cultural and artistic experiences for students.

The university will take a chartered bus of students and community members to see performances at the Gallo Center. “Break!,” an urban funk spectacular, will take the stage of the Modesto center April 26, and the national Broadway tour of “CATS” will make its stop May 3.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Mason, Robbins, Gnass & Browning – and those purchasing community tickets – UC Merced students will be able to see the shows for $10 apiece, which includes transportation via chartered bus. Community tickets are $60 apiece for "Break!" and $65 for "CAT," which helps offset the cost to students. Tickets are available at the UC Merced Cashier's Office on the first floor of the Kolligian Library. For information, contact the Office of Student Life, (209) 228-5433.

Talk With Your Hands: UC Merced Will Host Gesture Symposium

How do we gesture, and why?  What is the role of gesture in everyday communication?  How did gestures evolve in human language – before speech, or after? What areas of the brain are activated with gesture?

Internationally renowned experts will discuss these and related questions at the first-ever UC Merced Sigma Xi Spring Symposium on April 24 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The event will take place in the California Room in the Valley Terraces housing complex on campus.

The event is free and open to the general public, and refreshments, including chocolates, will be served. More

Cinco de Mayo Celebration, May 2

The Office of Student Life and Latino Students de UC Merced will host the Third Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration on Friday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to midnight. The celebration will take place in front of the Kolligian Library in Scholars Plaza. This event is free to everyone, and includes lunch and dinner.

Activities will include performances by UC Merced student groups, a mariachi band and Aztec dancers, in addition to salsa dance lessons and a “Mexican Dance” from 8 p.m. to midnight. For more information, contact Enrique Guzman at (209) 228-5433.

Third Annual Family Art Exhibition

Sea by Veronica Adrover
Communications assistant Veronica Adrover submitted “Sea” for the annual Family Art Show.


The “Third Ever UC Merced Family Art Show” runs through May 9. UC Merced students, staff, faculty and relatives of campus employees have submitted a variety of painting, drawing, sculpture, other visual arts and everyone’s favorite — children’s art! The exhibition will be shown in the east wing of the Kolligian Library. Everyone is welcome to view the art any time the Kolligian Library is open. For more information, contact libraryexhibits@ucmerced.edu.

Yosemite Archaeology to be Discussed at Frontiers Lecture in May

Professor Kathleen Hull of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts will deliver the next installment of the Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series at the Challenger Learning Center in Atwater. Her area of research, archaeology in Yosemite National Park, is a fascinating example of the intersection of science and humanities in academics, and of particular interest to this region neighboring the nation’s most-visited park. The lecture is free and open to the public on Saturday, May 17 at 10 a.m. at the Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, Atwater. For more information, including the lecture series schedule for the rest of 2008, see http://www.challengersjv.org.

Other events:

May 23: University Commencement
May 26: Memorial Day (UC Merced is closed)



• Total amount of proposals this month: $4,237,627
• Total amount of awards this month:  $1,762,837
• Total amount of awards from July 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008: $11,245,009


Contact Us

We want to hear from you. Do you have a question or comment about your UC Merced Update? Is there a campus-related topic or issue you’d like us to address? Or would you like to unsubscribe? Please contact Brenda Ortiz by e-mail bortiz@ucmerced.edu or call (209) 228-4203 with your questions, feedback and requests.

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