UC Merced Update masthead

May 20, 2011


News Blog


Special Welcome to New
Alumni Affairs Director

Heather BucknerUC Merced is pleased to welcome Heather Buckner to UC Merced as director of alumni affairs. Heather previously worked in alumni relations at American University in Washington, D.C., and is looking forward to getting to know UC Merced’s Bobcats. Feel free to send Heather an e-mail to connect with her and learn the latest news in UC Merced Alumni Affairs.

Congratulations Class of 2011!

On May 14, students in the Class of 2011 participated in commencement and headed out to explore the next chapter in their lives. We look forward to their continued involvement as UC Merced Bobcats in our Alumni Association in the years to come. And it’s not too late to leave a lasting legacy in honor of the Class of 2011. You don’t have to be a graduating senior to contribute to the Class of 2011 Gift of scholarship support.

Submit a nomination for the new UC Merced Alumni Association Board

We’re looking for thoughtful, responsible alumni to get engaged in this important leadership group. Please submit an online nomination form if you think you’d be a great fit for this opportunity. Deadline to submit your nomination is Wednesday, June 1. All UC-wide alumni are also welcome to support this new board in an advisory capacity. If you have previous experience on another UC Alumni Association Board and would like to get involved, contact Heather Buckner for more information.

Stay Connected

Update Your Contact Info

We are working to build a strong alumni network, but we need your help. Let us know where you are by updating your contact information. Once you do, invite your UC Merced alumni friends to do the same by posting the following on their Facebook or Twitter account:
I’m building the UC Merced Alumni Network! Update your contact information to do your part in building the network, too – (link to http://alumni.ucmerced.edu/alumni/update-contact-information).

Follow us on Twitter and
like us on Facebook

You’re on it; we’re on it. Let’s connect on it. You’ll learn the latest information about UC Merced and your fellow alumni.


Go to events.ucmerced.edu to find out what’s happening on campus now.

Frontiers Lecture Series –
May 21

The spring semester program of the Frontiers of Science and Engineering lecture series continues May 21 with a talk by UC Merced Professor Teamrat Ghezzehei. The lectures are held at 10 a.m. in the Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, Atwater. They are free and open to the public.

University Friends Circle –
June 7

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 7 at the Chancellor’s Conference Room (KL 232) on campus. Members are encouraged to attend and participate in board of directors nominations and voting.

The cost, including lunch, is $20 for members. Parking permits in the Lake Lot are $2. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP, email smarquez2@ucmerced.edu or call 209-228-4190.

The UFC provides a forum for UC Merced staff and faculty, and their families, to engage in open discussion and interact with members of the surrounding community.

Young Writers Wanted

The Bobcat Young Writers Academy offers students the opportunity to develop their talents as writers. The academy, which runs June 20 to 30, is for students entering first through eighth grades in the fall. The academy is 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday. Cost is $200. [More information]

Marine Research Exhibit

UC Merced marine biologist Michael Dawson is bringing exotic research to campus in a new multimedia exhibit at the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library. Dawson’s “Exploring Marine Biodiversity and Environments,” which will be on display through July 30 on the third floor of the library, is presented as a travelogue of sorts, in the spirit of John Steinbeck’s “The Log from the Sea of Cortez” and Edward Ricketts’ “Between Pacific Tides.” The exhibit will include biological specimens, including several jellyfish, along with field equipment and research tools. It will also feature photographs and film footage taken underwater and of the surrounding environment in locations such as the Pacific island nation of Palau and the coasts of California and Mexico.


Chancellor’s Associates Spring Reception Highlights

On April 28, Chancellor's Associates mingled at the Chancellor’s residence. This event was Chancellor Steve Kang and Mia Kang’s farewell Chancellor’s Associates event. The evening’s highlight was a sit-down conversation with Chancellor Kang about the growth he has seen in his four years as chancellor and his future plans.

For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Lisa McMullen at 209-228-4202.


Total amount of awards in April:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2010 to April 31, 2011:


Editor's note: This will be our last issue of Update for the summer.

We're taking a break, but will return in August with more campus news.


New Chancellor Poised to Raise Campus Profile, Continue Growth

Dorothy LelandWith a proven record of building universities, UC Merced Chancellor-Designate Dorothy Leland is prepared to lead the campus through its next phase of development by growing its academic and research profile.

"In some ways, I feel I’ve been preparing for this experience throughout my entire career," Leland said. "This is truly a dream come true, and I couldn’t be more excited about it."

The UC Board of Regents on Wednesday approved Leland's appointment to serve as the third chancellor of UC Merced. She begins July 1. Leland, who holds a doctoral degree in philosophy from Purdue University, currently serves as president of Georgia College & State University.

"To take the helm of a burgeoning campus that is part of the world’s premiere research university is a tremendous honor for me," Leland told the regents. "As a native Californian, I have followed its progress with deep interest. And after nearly 30 years away from my home state, I am thrilled to return as chancellor of the university’s newest campus and the first American public research university built in this century." [more]

UC Merced Awarded 1,000th Degree


UC Merced marked a major milestone at its sixth commencement exercise May 14, as the university awarded its 1,000th degree.

Members of the Class of 2011 hail from 35 counties across California, as well as five additional states and one foreign country.

The commencement also marked a milestone for Chancellor Steve Kang, who will end his four-year tenure June 30 to return to teaching and research at UC Santa Cruz.

Presiding over the evening as some 500 members of the Class of 2011 walked across the stage, Chancellor Kang explained that he and his wife, Mia, share a special connection with this year's class because they arrived on campus the same year as many of them.

"For many of you, commencement marks the end of your time spent at UC Merced but also the beginning of a new journey," he said. "But you will always be a part of this campus' legacy and future. You are pioneering mighty Bobcats, now and forever."
[Read more.]

Grant to Further Connect Campus, Community

UC Merced's research expertise and dedicated campus community have another channel through which to serve the San Joaquin Valley.

The campus recently received a grant from The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative in Merced County. The Chancellor’s Task Force on Community Engaged Scholarship has been awarded two years of funding from the endowment to strengthen the collaboration between the campus and community. The alliance will focus on building a body of knowledge about local health issues as well as the factors that influence health equity. [more]

Campus Plan Wins National Award

The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) has announced that UC Merced’s 2009 Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP) was named a winner of the nation’s leading award for campus planning and urban design.

UC Merced earned an honor award in the category of Excellence in Planning for an Established Campus. It’s the first national award and fourth overall for the 136-page document, which guides the campus’ physical growth, development and land-use priorities. [more]

UC Merced Sports Step Up to NAIA

UC Merced has been approved for membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). With the approval, the Golden Bobcats will begin play in the California Pacific Conference in Fall 2011 in four sports: men’s basketball, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that the NAIA has accepted UC Merced as a member,” said David Dunham, the campus’ director of recreation and athletics. “We feel our teams are more than ready to compete at this level and continue building a foundation for the future of Golden Bobcat athletics.” [more]

Founding University Librarian Resigns

R. Bruce Miller

R. Bruce Miller

Donald A. Barclay

Donald A. Barclay


Founding University Librarian R. Bruce Miller has announced he will retire from UC Merced on June 30.

Miller has been integral to the development of the UC Merced campus since his arrival from UC San Diego in 2001. His tenure at UC Merced has been marked by planning and developing the library of the future. His vision for the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library has made it the centerpiece of campus life for the entire community and is a lasting legacy to his leadership and major contributions to the campus.

Deputy University Librarian Donald A. Barclay will serve as interim university librarian until the post is permanently filled.


SoCal Edison Gift Funds Energy, Water Research

Les StarckDozens of UC Merced students will be able to research new ways of increasing energy efficiency and protecting our environmental resources thanks to a $250,000 gift to the campus from Southern California Edison (SCE).

Between two installments of $125,000, one in 2010 and one in 2011, the gift will benefit a total of 46 undergraduate and four graduate students in UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) and Solar Power Forecasting Initiative. In addition, two UC Merced students will receive internships with SCE. [more]

Foster Poultry Farms Donates $1 Million for Scholarships

Foster familyA $1 million donation from Foster Poultry Farms will allow UC Merced to further enrich the lives of students through scholarships.

"Our initial gift has already made a remarkable impact in the lives of UC Merced students and the community," said Sue Foster, the company's director of corporate giving. "We are delighted to further support the university and its important mission by providing student scholarships."

To date, Foster Poultry Farms has supported the university with donations totaling nearly $2.3 million. Based in Livingston, Foster Poultry Farms is the leading poultry producer in the western United States and has remained a family-owned business since its founding in 1939.
[Read more.]


Ancient Chinese Government Lends Perspective to Modern Challenges

Ruth MosternFor better or worse, government hasn't changed all that much in two millennia.

China's government 2,000 years ago confronted the same kinds of problems as its modern counterparts — making decisions that are limited by incomplete information in times of factionalism.

This insight comes from UC Merced history Professor Ruth Mostern's book "Dividing the Realm in Order to Govern: The Spatial Organization of the Song State," published in March by the Harvard University Press. The book shows how UC Merced’s faculty addresses modern-day problems through novel research. [more]


Undergraduates Assist High School Students with Key Exam

View the video

Six UC Merced students are showing their passion for serving the community by tutoring a group of Merced High School students who are in danger of failing a key exit exam.

The group was organized by world history major Dulcemaria Anaya, of Merced, and environmental engineering major Jesse Anaya, of Modesto, with the help of UC Merced Spanish lecturer Yolanda Pineda-Vargas.

The two students (no relation) were among the six students from UC Merced who participated in Harvard’s Latino Leadership Initiative in Cambridge, Mass., last year. Part of the program requires the students to make a difference in their community. [more]

Research Week Poster Contest Winners Announced

Research WeekResearch Week, UC Merced’s annual celebration of faculty and student research, took place last month and was highlighted by a student research poster competition and a number of lectures and symposia. Winners have been announced in the undergraduate and graduate Student Research Poster Competitions.

In the undergraduate division, sponsored by the Associated Students of UC Merced, Desiree Sigala placed first. Ruth Adams was second and Catherine Le third. [more]

‘Enterprising’ Students Strive to Market Telemedicine

UC Merced may still be a young campus, but that doesn’t prevent its students from striving for audacious goals. One enterprising group of students aspires to change the face of how diabetes is managed in the Merced area.

The local chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), under the guidance of management lecturer S.A. Davis, is creating a telehealth initiative to help women manage gestational diabetes without having to make frequent trips to the doctor. [more]

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