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October 19, 2012


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Alumni Founders Day Events

Digging Into Our Legacy: General Meeting and Standing Lunch — Oct. 27

You keep saying you want to get involved; here's your chance. Come meet the UC Merced Alumni Association (UCMAA) board members, learn more about UCMAA's goals for the year and enjoy a complimentary lunch. [Learn more]

Building Relationships, Building Networks — Oct. 27

Alumni and students are invited to learn tips and tricks from UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees members on the importance of building relationships and networks to push their professional development forward. [Learn more]

2012-13 Board Announced

Six new members have been added to the UCMAA board this year – just in time for the meeting scheduled during the campus's Founders Day events. New members include Eve Delfin (social and cognitive science, '06), Keith Ellis (political science and management, '12) and Evelyn Hoyo (computer science and engineering, '12). Come meet the UCMAA board during the Founders Day celebration Oct. 27.

Alumni Events

Alumni have many opportunities to reconnect with UC Merced each year through on-campus and regional events. View the events calendar.


Impact: Understanding Addiction with Fruit Flies
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Go to events.ucmerced.edu to find out what’s happening on campus now.

University Friends Circle Lunch — Nov. 6

The University Friends Circle meets for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 6 at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Merced.

Professor Paul Brown, director of UC Merced's Health Sciences Research Institute, will present "Toward a Healthier Future: Working Together to Improve the Health Care System in the San Joaquin Valley."

The cost is $20 for members and $25 for guests. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP, call 209-384-8811 or email ufc@ucmerced.edu.

The UFC's mission is to inspire and maintain strong relationships between the UC Merced community and the communities of the San Joaquin Valley through activities that promote social and intellectual interaction, programs of service and fundraising initiatives that support UC Merced scholarships.

Founders’ Day Market on Main — Oct. 25

Join us downtown for Market on Main from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25, when we bring the campus to the community. The event will include research displays, student club and organization tables, campus activity tables and student performances.

For more information, visit foundersday.ucmerced.edu.

Artists, Poets Collaborate on Mixed Media Project

Students in classes taught by Vanesha Pravin and Tonya Lopez-Craig created mixed-media projects that incorporate poetry and prints. The works are on display in the Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library.

Students in Writing 125: Poetry in Creative Writing and in Arts 23: Multimedia collaborated in Spring 2012. Prints from the artists served as the inspiration for the first few poetic lines.

Simultaneously, the artists developed mixed-media projects that work with the poetry. The poets worked with the prints to further compose poems inspired by the art.

The show is on display until Oct. 30.

Legacy Circle and Chancellor’s Associates Holiday Reception – Dec. 6

Legacy Circle members and Chancellor's Associates are invited to attend a holiday reception on Dec. 6. More information will be available soon. For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, call 209-228-4401


UC Merced provides unparalleled academic and staff opportunities, as well as opportunities for vendors and contractors who are helping to build the university. Check our online listings often.


Total amount of awards in September:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2012:



Founders Day Events Highlight Campus's First 10 Years

Founders Day logoUC Merced will commemorate the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking with a series of Founders Day events Oct. 25 through 27.

Several events throughout the three-day celebration will recognize founding faculty and staff as well as honor founding Legacy Circle donors, University Committee of Merced members, founding Foundation Board of Trustees members and government officials who played a part in making sure there would be a groundbreaking on Oct. 25, 2002.

“I look forward to celebrating this noteworthy milestone with colleagues, friends and supporters whose vision, dedication and hard work helped UC Merced reach the official groundbreaking 10 years ago this month,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “Whether you were here in 2002 or joined later in its history, I hope each faculty, staff and student will join us in celebrating how far we’ve come in such a short span of time.”

Events on campus and in the city of Merced are intended to build closer ties with the community and showcase the many ways UC Merced is fulfilling its mission.

Campus Continues Bringing Value to the Valley

Campus construction

Between research, jobs, and the thousands and thousands of purchases of goods and services, UC Merced is helping move the Valley’s economy forward to the tune of $815 million since July 2000.

UC Merced has contributed about $1.54 billion to the statewide economy. In just the past 14 months, the campus has invested more than $165 million in the regional economy, including the record $15.8 million spent this past year for research.

In 2011-12, faculty members received more than $22 million in grants, including $2 million from the National Science Foundation to continue the Sierra Nevada Research Institute’s (SNRI) development of wireless sensor networks measuring snowpack depth and other water-cycle factors; and $2.6 million from the National Institutes of Health to study tobacco programs at the state and local level with researchers at UC San Francisco.

Those grants, which come from public and private sources, help purchase equipment and pay salaries for researchers, but they also ensure groundbreaking research, the long-term effects of which cannot be entirely known.

From the smallest purchases to the largest contracts, UC Merced has had a positive impact on the Valley’s economy.

“Recent economic reports from various local sources indicate that job growth and key business indicators in the Valley are finally moving in a positive direction, after years of decline,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “While there’s much more room for improvement, we are extremely pleased to be a contributing factor in this much-needed development.”

Since 2000 and through August of this year, the university has made more than $531 million in payroll distributions, purchased $145 million in local goods and services and awarded $140 million in construction contracts to Valley businesses, campus statistics show.

As these investments circulate through the economy — supplemented by a rapidly growing volume of expenditures made by students, parents, visitors and others — the economic “ripple effect” routinely increases their overall financial impact by a factor of two to three times, according to an analysis prepared by the UC Office of the President in 2011.

Lakireddy Gift Promotes Engineering and Entrepreneurship

Dr. and Mrs. Vikram Lakireddy



A generous gift from a San Joaquin Valley family will give the campus a legacy fund that firmly establishes its leadership role in regional entrepreneurialism.

The Dr. and Mrs. Vikram Lakireddy Innovation and Design Clinic Endowed Fund will also help transform engineering studies by giving students experience in applying engineering principles and methods to pressing engineering issues for real businesses and nonprofit groups.

“The Lakireddy endowed fund’s legacy is in supporting highly intelligent, capable students in creating and executing solutions to real problems outside the classroom,” said School of Engineering Dean Daniel Hirleman. “It’s critical that students engage with the community and experience exactly how engineers help people and change the world.”

Solving the world’s problems, including delivering energy, food, medical services, and clean air and water, takes an understanding not only of complex theory, but of actual application, teamwork, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The School of Engineering’s Innovation and Design Clinic is a semester-long program designed to do just that. Engineering seniors participate in the Clinic as they earn accredited degrees. The Clinic matches students with area businesses and nonprofits that become their clients and mentors, and challenges the students to become entrepreneurs of their knowledge, skills and research applications.
[Read more]

Transfer Student Uses Sports, Academics to Inspire Local Youth

Nick Navarrette

At 33, Nick Navarrette isn’t the average UC Merced student. He’s not even the average transfer student. Then again, Navarrette has never been “average,” nor does he pretend to be. Maybe that’s why adversity doesn’t seem to faze him.

The former UC Merced police officer was on top of the world when he joined the campus force in 2006. He had a good life, a great career and a passion for making Merced a better place by teaching local youth the importance of making wise choices in life. As an officer, he enrolled the campus community in his vision by creating the UC Merced Police Department Mentor Program, which pairs university students with at-risk youth as mentors.

But an off-duty knee injury in 2010 brought all of that to a crashing halt when it sidelined his career. Though he had graduated from the police academy, those courses had little value outside of law enforcement.

“I was scared,” Navarrette said. “I felt like I was out on the street with just a high school diploma and my kids looking at me like, ‘Well, what’s next, Dad?’”

School is what came next — and without delay. While others may have wallowed in self-pity, Navarrette enrolled at Merced College in January 2011. He took 24 units his first term, followed by seven summer units, 25 units the next fall and another 19 to graduate in Spring 2012 and transfer to UC Merced as a junior.
[Read more]

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