UC Merced Update mastehead


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


May 26, 2006



We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, June 21 for the UC Merced Foundation Annual Board of Trustees meeting, to be held at UC Merced.

In the effort to keep you apprised of current campus news, we plan to provide additional updates on important projects and initiatives. Following up on our March 8 meeting, when we highlighted the programs and accomplishments of faculty members and students in the Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences, the June meeting will focus on some of the exciting activities and developments within the Division of Student Affairs and the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

At the conclusion of our board meeting, an evening reception will be held in honor of our esteemed Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. To be held at the Chancellor’s Residence, this promises to be a very special event recognizing Carol's historic leadership.

Please R.S.V.P. for the meeting and reception at your earliest convenience at (209) 724-4416 or by e-mail at specialevents@ucmerced.edu.



An informational update on planning for a UC Merced medical education program will be provided by Executive Director of Development Jan Mendenhall during the next Foundation Diplomats luncheon meeting.

We hope that all of you can join us for this program to be held on the UC Merced campus in conjunction with the Foundation Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, June 21.

For more information, please contact Patricia O'Connor at (209) 724-4461 or by e-mail at poconnor@ucmerced.edu.


Please consider attending a special community dinner honoring Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey that is scheduled for June 20 at Lake Yosemite. We're hoping for a large turnout of Chancellor's Associates members to bid a fond farewell to UC Merced's founding chancellor.

You have provided critical and dedicated support to the chancellor, and this event provides an opportunity to celebrate all that has been accomplished by working together.

For more information about the dinner, please see the news item below. Additional details about the event and the Chancellor's Associates also are available by contacting Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations Mike Campbell at (209) 724-4402 or by e-mail at mcampbell@ucmerced.edu.



In the monumental effort to establish UC Merced, one individual's leadership and energy stand out above all others.

Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey's determination and creativity have inspired us all, keeping the project moving forward even as many doubted the campus would ever open.

Recognizing her tireless devotion during seven years as UC Merced's founding chancellor and nearly three more years at the helm of campus development, the University Committee of Merced is planning a very special "Community Thank You for Carol" event at Lake Yosemite's Rotary Cove. To be held on Tuesday, June 20 as the chancellor prepares to step down, the event will feature a social at 6 p.m. and barbecue dinner at 7 p.m.

The cost is $30 per person or $240 for a reserved table seating eight people.

• Tickets are available at the following locations in Merced:
• Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, 690 West 16th Street, (209) 384-7092
• Merced County Chamber of Commerce, 860 West 18th Street, (209) 722-3864
• Merced Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 1640 N Street, Suite 220, (209) 385-7650
• UC Merced, Kolligian Library Gold Wing, Room 304, 5200 North Lake Road, (209) 724-4452.

Please join the celebration of this remarkable woman and her accomplishments.



Please put a new hold on your calendar for Friday, October 27, when the recently rescheduled 11th Annual Ma Kelley Memorial Shoot-Out will be held at the award-winning Stevinson Ranch Golf Club.

Coming shortly are all the details about this fun-raising event to raise funds for recreational equipment at UC Merced.



UC Merced Celebrates First University Commencement

Happy 2006 graduates
UC Merced's first graduating students receive congratulations from family members and the campus community following the commencement ceremony. - Photo by Roger J. Wyan

Marking the latest milestone in a year filled with milestones, the campus community and close friends gathered in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium to celebrate UC Merced's First University Commencement on May 11.

Undergraduate students Eve Delfín and Kristi Imberi joined graduate student Daniel Santillano on stage to make history as the first students to graduate from UC Merced. As San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network (Alumni Network) President Lee Andersen said, these students also offer UC Merced the distinction of having the only UC alumni association with 100 percent membership.

Santillano, who earned his master of science degree with an emphasis in environmental systems, was among the initial dozen graduate students to begin their courses and research at the Castle facilities in August 2004. He will complete his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in cognitive and social sciences, Imberi transferred to UC Merced after spending three years at UC Davis. She will return to campus in the fall, when she will begin pursuit of her doctorate in cognitive and social sciences... [Click here to read the complete story and see more commencement photos]


Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Appointed as UNLV President

David B. Ashley
David B. Ashley

David B. Ashley, executive vice chancellor and provost at UC Merced for the past five years, recently announced that he has accepted the position of president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He will assume the UNLV presidency on July 1.

As UC Merced's top academic officer, Ashley has played a central role in the establishment of the university's inaugural academic programs, spearheaded the hiring of founding faculty members, created research opportunities and helped organize strategic planning efforts.

"David has been a tremendous asset to the campus and played a pivotal role in developing academic programs and recruiting world-class faculty," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "His leadership has been instrumental in building the first University of California campus to open in 40 years, which is no everyday feat. UNLV will benefit greatly from David's leadership. We wish him well."

Ashley came to UC Merced in 2001 after serving as dean of the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University for four years. As a professor of civil engineering, he has more than three decades of professional experience studying project risk analysis and management in the construction industry. He also has held faculty positions at UC Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin and MIT.

"I have been delighted and honored to be one of the founders of UC Merced," Ashley said. "It has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am particularly happy with the quality of the academic programs we have developed and the hiring of truly stellar faculty members who sustain high-quality research programs while also demonstrating exceptional care and concern for our students."


Funding Approved for Preliminary Plans for Housing 3

On May 16, the UC Regents Committee on Grounds and Buildings approved funding of $1.6 million to complete preliminary plans for the Housing 3 project. Aimed to meet student demand for on-campus housing, this third student housing complex is initially scheduled to open in fall 2008.

Plans for Housing 3 include 600 student beds, with rooms based on double occupancy and the ability to accommodate triple occupancy as needed. Similar in plan to the two-story Sierra Terraces (also known as Housing 2) project currently under construction at the corner of Scholars Lane and Muir Pass, the new housing complex will feature two three-story buildings.

Also in the planning stages is a dining expansion project that would add about 250 to 300 seats to the existing Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center, which currently has a capacity of 200 seats.

In addition, campus officials identify the need for a new dining facility at about the same time as the Housing 3 project would open in fall 2008. Presently, the feasibility of the dining expansion project is being explored.


Grad Student Duo Produces Immigration Documentary

Carlos Bazua Morales and Salvador Contreras
Graduate students Carlos Bazua Morales and Salvador Contreras applied UC MEXUS grant funding to develop a documentary film centered on health concerns for undocumented workers from Mexico.

Salvador Contreras and Carlos Bazua Morales, former classmates at UC Berkeley and current graduate students at UC Merced, worked with faculty at UC Santa Cruz and The Center for Investigations and Superior Studies on Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Yucatán to obtain a UC MEXUS grant for a film documentary to delve into health concerns for undocumented workers from Mexico.

They focused on immigrants from the city of Oxkutzcab to San Francisco’s Mission District, conducting 40 to 45 interviews on each side of the border. While they documented health challenges for immigrants – AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, loneliness, drugs and alcohol – they also found questions: What is it like for immigrants to live in two countries? How does immigration affect identity?

Bazua Morales and Contreras finished editing the documentary and showed it for the first time at UC Merced on May 1. They plan showings in Oxkutzcab this summer and will distribute DVDs there and in the Mission District.

“This film can help orient potential migrants before they leave and validate the experiences of those who have already migrated,” Contreras explained.

In addition, they hope to show the film at universities while they dig into questions raised about expression, agency, language, symbols, policy, processes of migration and means to overcome immigrants’ challenges as they continue their graduate studies at UC Merced.


Alumni Network Contributes to Graduates' Gift

UC Merced's first graduating students were clearly enthusiastic as they made time during their final weeks to begin the tradition of raising money to bestow a gift to the university.

Members of the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network contributed $2,500 toward the inaugural graduates' gift to the campus of a 125-gallon freshwater aquarium. Announced by the graduating trio of students during the recent commencement ceremony, the aquarium will make its home in the Kolligian Library.

According to Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Martinez, nearly 100 UC alumni attended a recent reception hosted by the Alumni Network with the goal of raising funds for the class gift. Because the Educational Employees Credit Union sponsored the reception, all money raised as a result of the reception went directly to support the class gift. The graduating students also donated funds for the aquarium.

Martinez said that thanks also are owed to Univeristy Librarian Bruce Miller and Assistant University Librarian Donald Barclay for their support and their commitment to maintain the aquarium after its installation.



Spencer Grant to Benefit Pre-calculus, Student Research Journal

A proposal from UC Merced has won a prestigious $25,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation’s Forum for Excellence in Higher Education. Robert Ochsner, Bruce Birkett and Professor Arnold Kim will use the funds to further improve UC Merced’s pre-calculus course and to start up an electronic journal of student research.

Kim, a professor in the School of Natural Sciences, led the mathematics portion of the proposal along with consultant Bruce Birkett. They plan to make improvements to UC Merced’s pre-calculus course, Math 5, to change pre-calculus from its traditional role as a weed-out course to a fertile ground for future innovators.

For the writing portion of the grant, Ochsner, the director of UC Merced’s writing program, plans to found an electronically-published journal of student research. Students will submit papers for the journal, and a student editorial group will prepare them for publication. Top papers will receive Awards for Excellence in Writing.

The Forum for Excellence in Higher Education, which awarded the grant funded by the Spencer Foundation, aims to help institutions implement innovations that will maximize the quality and value of students’ time at college. Participants in the forum are Amherst, Bowdoin, Davidson, Duke, Georgetown, Haverford, Harvard, M.I.T., Macalaster, Middlebury, Olin, UC Merced, Wellesley and Williams.


Honors Awarded at Commencement Ceremony

Sam Traina
Roland Winston
Sam Traina
Roland Winston

As part of her address during the commencement ceremony held May 11, Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey announced special honors for two members of the founding faculty.

She announced that Professor Sam Traina, the director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, will be the first individual to hold the Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences.

The chair was funded in 2001 with a gift from the late Ted Falasco and his wife Jan Falasco of Los Banos. Income generated from the investment of that gift will help support Traina’s teaching and research efforts.

The chancellor also awarded the first annual Chancellor’s Award to Professor Roland Winston in recognition of his accomplishments which include publishing the first article and the first textbook with UC Merced bylines.

A pioneer of solar energy utilization research and applications, Winston also has the distinction of receiving the first patent awarded to a UC Merced faculty member.


Exhibit Features Snapshots of African-American Life in the 20th Century

David Johnson photography exhibit
An opening reception was held recently for "David Johnson Photography: Past and Present Images," an exhibit currently on display in the Kolligian Library.

David Johnson, who photographed important moments in African-American life and history throughout the 20th century, is exhibiting his work at UC Merced.

“David Johnson Photography: Past and Present Images,” which includes photographs of jazz musicians, civil rights leaders and ordinary citizens, will be on display on the second floor of the Kolligian Library until the June 19, which marks the “Juneteenth” holiday observed by many African-Americans nationwide commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Many of Johnson’s photographs are featured in the new book, “Harlem of the West,” by Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts, which documents African-American life and culture in San Francisco. He is the only living photographer whose work is included in the book.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida who currently resides in Merced County, Johnson was the first African American student of renowned photographer Ansel Adams.



May 23, 2006
Merced Sun-Star
By Corinne Reilly

UC to expand its offerings in fall

UC Merced will launch five new majors this fall, along with the nine undergraduate degree programs offered in the university's first year.

Mechanical engineering, chemical sciences and physics are among the new majors students will be able to choose from.

May 12, 2006
Modesto Bee
By Lorena Anderson

First UC Merced Grads Form Triumvirate

MERCED — Last September, the first students at University of California at Merced crossed a bridge.

They walked across the span over Scholars Lane, onto a new campus with buildings still under construction.

May 11, 2006
Merced Sun-Star
By Corinne Reilly

A lasting legacy

Christine McFadden started raising money in memory of her four children just months after the 2002 murder-suicide that claimed their lives.

Though UC Merced was little more than open fields at the time, McFadden saw the university as a fitting place to honor her children, who she says understood the power of education.

May 2, 2006
Merced Sun-Star
By Corinne Reilly

Immigration issues addressed at UCM

As thousands took to the streets of Merced on Monday afternoon, students and faculty at University of California, Merced, stayed in to discuss the details behind the immigration debate, as well as ways to turn the momentum of nationwide marches into a fair and comprehensive national policy.

"We're getting the issues on the table, and now we need to see them through," said UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey during the on-campus forum.

April 26, 2006
Merced Sun-Star
By David Chircop

UCM's student entrepreneur

Appearing more like a Fortune 500 executive than a student, Sam Fong is perhaps the most earnest young person in Merced you will ever meet.

While flip-flops, shorts and a T-shirt wouldn't be out of place, the University of California, Merced, freshman wears a business suit when meeting with university administrators.

April 24, 2006
Merced Sun-Star
By Corinne Reilly

Well-traveled professor to fill in as UC Merced dean

When one of University of California, Merced's three founding deans announced in January his decision to resign, university officials knew replacing him would be difficult.

Finding a candidate with the right academic and leadership qualifications could take awhile.


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