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Welcome UC Merced Supporters

May 29, 2009


Early Childhood Education Center Open House – June 4

Early Childhood Education Center

The UC Merced Early Childhood Education Center will host a grand opening celebration from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 4. The ECEC will open its doors to allow visitors – big and small – to explore the facility’s indoor classrooms and outdoor play environments for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Barnes & Noble will be onsite to allow guests to purchase and donate books to add to the center’s collection. If you are unable to attend the grand opening, books may be donated at the Barnes & Noble Merced location. Notify the cashier, and all purchases made on June 4 (including cafe and music) will benefit UC Merced’s ECEC. A concept drawing of the future “Michelle Obama’s Garden for Young Children” will also be on display. RSVP to (209) 228-RSVP or specialevents@ucmerced.edu.

ECEC staff plan to welcome children to the center by June 22. For information: ecec.ucmerced.edu.

Save the Date: Staff Assembly Food Drive – June 11

The UC Merced Staff Assembly will host a food drive-up donation event on campus Thursday, June 11.

From 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. staff volunteers will accept donations of non-perishable food items at the top of Scholars Lane (in front of the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library). Donations will benefit the Merced County Food Bank, which is in need of dry cereal, peanut butter, jelly, canned foods and boxed dinners.

For information: Erin Webb


Graduate Students Create PSAs

Graduate Students
Graduate students in Quantitative and Systems Biology 290 created public-service announcements with the help of filmmaker Randy Olson. Olson, a former evolutionary ecologist, worked with four groups of students for three days, helping them create scientifically literate public service announcements. The topics – air quality, the use of chemicals, chlamydia and water resources – are issues that affect the San Joaquin Valley region and are of global significance. The project culminated with a viewing of the students’ work on May 6 in Lakireddy Auditorium.
[Read more]


Congratulations to the Class of 2009! The UC Merced Alumni Association is pleased to welcome 500 new members.
Amphitheater Campaign in Full Swing

Michelle Obama’s appearance at commencement is proof that no feat is impossible for the Class of 2009. This determined group of students has made significant progress toward their class gift to the university, but they still need help. Alumni, parents and members of the community are encouraged to make a contribution by purchasing an engraved brick that will be installed in a walkway or pavilion at the entrance to the Little Lake Park Amphitheater. Visit makeagift.ucmerced.edu to help the class make the amphitheater a reality. For information, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Madril at (209) 228-ALUM.

Alumni Invitation

The Chancellor’s Pioneers program provides UC Merced alumni an opportunity to continue to give back to the university while enjoying networking and mentorship with Chancellor’s Associates members. Join this special group of supporters today. For information, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Madril at (209) 228-ALUM.


On June 10, the Foundation Board of Trustees will meet on the UC Merced campus. The day's events will include a trustee and diplomats networking lunch and committee, focus area and full board meetings, followed by an evening reception. Please note: The dinner on Tuesday, June 9 has been canceled.

For more information, visit trustees.ucmerced.edu or contact Shannon Runyon at (209) 228-4685.


Kim Stanley Robinson

At the spring reception, Chancellor’s Associates members enjoyed a special presentation by award-winning science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson


It’s with deep appreciation and gratitude that we extend the membership of renewing Chancellor's Associates donors to Paul and Gina Fromson, Kathleen Crookham, Michael and Marian Mason, Tim and Billie Razzari, Pamela Brantley-Anderson, Betty Hunt, Ravi and Nirmala Kumar, Edith Nahas and Tony Laverdure, Greg and Catherine Hostetler, Loren Gonella and Andra Greenwald and Krishna and Sumana Thondapu. We graciously welcome new members David and Dianne Rich, Richard and Susan Mahacek, Lynn Collins, Mary Rojas, Donald and Effie Godbold, Marvin Heppner, Bruce McClellan with F&M Bank, Diana Hylton and Chancellor’s Pioneer Yang Li.

Chancellor's Associates are a diverse group sharing a common dedication to UC Merced. Chancellor’s Associate members are invited to take part in many exciting events happening on campus and two private receptions. For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.


Total amount of awards in April:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2008 to April 30, 2009:



UC Merced Celebrates Inaugural Class

View Commencement 2009 photo collageWith a national audience watching and First Lady Michelle Obama as keynote speaker, UC Merced honored its inaugural class during the university’s fourth commencement ceremony on May 16.

"As the students who helped build this school, I ask you, make your legacy a lasting one," Mrs. Obama told the enthusiastic crowd of graduates. “You inspired me.”

In UC Merced’s largest commencement ever, Mrs. Obama spoke to about 12,000 people, which included students, family members, staff, dignitaries and members of the commmunity. Mrs. Obama’s speech, the first commencement address as First Lady of the United States, highlighted the historic ceremony, which aired live on the university’s Web site, public-access cable TV and on CNN. Big-screen televisions stationed throughout Merced allowed community members to watch the proceedings from various locations.
[Read more]

LEED Certifications, Energy Initiatives Have UC Merced Seeing ‘Green’

Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness CenterUC Merced continues to strike gold when it comes to being green.

The campus recently earned two more LEED Gold certifications for Sierra Terraces and the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center, unveiled its Climate Action Plan, announced plans to install a solar field that produces energy and received notification of a pending $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission. Collectively, these energy initiatives support UC Merced’s goal of becoming the greenest campus in the country.

"We are proud to develop a model for others to follow," said Thomas Lollini, FAIA, associate vice chancellor for physical planning, design and construction. "UC Merced has demonstrated what is possible."

The success of UC Merced's LEED program, along with the Climate Action Plan, the RESCO grant and solar field will establish the university as a living laboratory to explore replicable, sustainable energy solutions.
[Read more]

Book on UC Merced’s History Now on Sale

The Fairy Shrimp ChroniclesThe eagerly anticipated history of UC Merced, “The Fairy Shrimp Chronicles,” is now available for purchase at the UC Merced College Store. The book, written by students in Professor Gregg Herken’s senior history class, tells the story of how the 10th University of California campus – and the first major American public research university of the 21st century – came to be built in Merced, and the people who made it happen.

The book’s publication was paid for by money from the Writing Program’s Spencer Grant. Proceeds from the book, which sells for $11.95, will benefit the Writing Program and the future UC Merced student union.

Herken and the book’s authors hosted an intimate launch party on May 15, the evening before commencement. During the launch party, the authors took turns reading their favorite passages from the book and all took the opportunity to thank those who offered information and other source material that made the project possible to accomplish in a single academic year.

The book was given as a gift to all members of the Class of 2009 who participated in commencement on May 16.


UC Merced Academic Senate Announces Award Recipients

The UC Merced Academic Senate has designated the following honors for the 2008-09 academic year:

Shawn KantorProfessor Shawn Kantor was awarded the Dr. Fred Spiess Award for Distinguished Senate Service in recognition of his outstanding service to UC Merced’s Academic Senate and contributions that have had a major impact on faculty governance. Kantor served as chair of the Merced division when it was formally recognized as the 10th division of the University of California Academic Senate.

Teenie MatlockThe Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching was presented to professor Teenie Matlock in recognition of her excellence in undergraduate teaching and dedication to create a teaching/learning culture that is positive and supportive of students.

Cristián RicciThe Senate Award for Distinguished Early Career Research was awarded to Professor Cristián Ricci recognizing his outstanding research in literature of the Hispanic World, particularly Spanish literature of the 20th century.

Michael SpiveyIn recognition of cutting-edge research in the areas of human thought, perception, and action and sustained record of contributions to his field, professor Michael Spivey was given the UC Merced Academic Senate Award for Distinction in Research.

Professor Rudy Ortiz Receives USDA Fellowship

Rudy OrtizSchool of Natural Sciences assistant professor Rudy Ortiz is one of 20 educators to receive a Kika de la Garza Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The fellowship is given to faculty members at higher education institutions with full-time Hispanic enrollments of 25 percent or more. Fellows are selected based on the compatibility of their research interests with the USDA’s mission areas. Ortiz was one of three educators from the San Joaquin Valley to receive a fellowship.

Sigma Xi Chapter Annual Symposium and Awards Banquet

The local chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, held its annual awards banquet in April and presented several awards to faculty and staff.

Recipients were Samuel Traina for Distinguished Research Administrator, Michael Spivey for Distinguished Scientist, and Roger Bales for Science Communicator Award. President's awards were given to Richard Miller for outstanding leadership and to Leslie Teixeira for distinguished service. A distinguished service award also was presented to Teenie Matlock, 2008-09 chapter president. Four Central Valley school teachers were presented awards for their inspirational instruction in science and math.


Commencement Support

UC Merced is deeply appreciative of the support extended by many Merced community members for Commencement 2009. The graduation of UC Merced inaugural class and First Lady Michelle Obama's participation were historic for both the campus and the region. As fellow members of the Merced community, we look forward to continuing to foster and grow the vital ties between the campus and the region.

We also thank the following for their generous donations of money, goods and services.

Major Donors: AT&T, Educational Employees Credit Union, Kaiser Permanente and ProWest Constructors

Lead Donors: Extreme Networks, Merced Irrigation District and Sonic Foundry

Donors: Assemblyman Juan Arambula, Clark and Amara Morrison, Dr. Kurra, Dr. and Mrs. Fred Meyers, Dr. Hanimireddy Lakireddy Family Foundation, Dorothy and Dr. Bill Bizzini, Karen L. Bizzini, Esq., Lazar C. Piro, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Mr. Venkat Srinivasan, State Sen. Jeff Denham, Stephanie and Dr. Edward Leland, and Sumana and Dr. Krishna Thondapu

In-Kind & Supporter: Blue Diamond Growers, Dorrie E. Whitlock, FIJI Water, Karen Humphrey, Nestle Waters, Paramount Farms, PepsiCo., Inc., POM Wonderful, Safeway Corporation, Save Mart, Simply That Flowers, Via Adventures and Waste Management

Harvard Law Professor Continues Support of Merced Students

Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.

This fall, four incoming freshmen who graduated from high school in Merced will receive a scholarship from the UC Merced Donors Scholarship Fund thanks to a gift on behalf of Charles J. Ogletree Jr., J.D.

Recognized throughout the nation as an educator and equal-rights leader, Ogletree has a long record of commitment and service to public schools and higher education.

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