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October 21, 2011


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Homecoming 2012 – Oct. 22

UC Merced’s Homecoming event this Saturday will feature special events for students and alumni, including a women’s volleyball home game against Simpson University and an alumni event in downtown Merced. For more information about Homecoming 2012, visit alumni.ucmerced.edu/homecoming. Don’t miss out!

Alumni Phone-a-Thon a Success

Thank you for making our first phone-a-thon a success! In early October, UC Merced students made more than 1,100 calls and spoke with more than 25 percent of UC Merced’s alumni. Students shared alumni benefits as well as campus news highlights, including the introduction of Chancellor Dorothy Leland.

Gallo Center Discount for UC Alumni – October 30

Join Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush, in “Making a Difference: How the Power of Compassion Changes Lives” at 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Gallo Center for the Arts. Tickets start at $10, and UC alumni are eligible to receive a 15 percent discount. For more information, contact alumni@ucmerced.edu. This lecture is part of a distinguished lecture series and is sponsored in part by UC Merced.

Alumni Highlight

First Alumni Association Board Members Named

In conjunction with Homecoming weekend, UC Merced has announced the formation of the first-ever board of directors for its Alumni Association.

Christopher Abrescy (’09), Uday Bali (’08), Josh Bolin (’07), Jason Castillo (’09), Efferman Ezell (’09), Sam Fong (’09), Jose Godinez (’11), James Kirby (’10), Jacqueline Miramontes (’10), Elizabeth Perkins (’11) and Yaasha Sabba (’09) will represent their fellow alumni as the association moves into a new phase.

“UC Merced now has more than 1,200 alumni,” said Heather Buckner, director of alumni affairs. “This group will continue to grow by the hundreds and soon by more than a thousand every year. It’s important to establish a sound structure, with a board to advocate for the entire alumni base, as we move into a new phase.”

Buckner said the applications for the board were universally impressive. With the group now chosen, the Alumni Association board will aim to establish regional alumni chapters, first in California and then nationwide and worldwide.

“Our board will define what constitutes a chapter and the requirements necessary to establish one, such as number of alumni in the area,” she said. “At their very first meeting they will define the course of the alumni association and its expected growth around the state, country and world.”

She also noted that the board will be able to provide valuable feedback for her office as new alumni activities and initiatives come up in the future.

The new board members say they feel glad for a chance to serve their alma mater.
[Read more.]


Impact: Undergrads Return from Unforgettable Research Trip
Impact video
View on YouTube


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


Frontiers Lecture Series

MTS Lecture Series

Psychological Sciences Talk Series

Energy Speaker Series

University Friends Circle
– Nov. 1

The University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Branding Iron Restaurant. UC Merced’s Paul Brown, director of the Health Sciences Research Institute, will present “Toward A Healthier Future: Working Together to Improve the Health Care System in the San Joaquin Valley.” He will address concerns that San Joaquin Valley residents have some of the worst health issues in the country and the significant disparities across the region.

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

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.


Save the Date: Chancellor’s Associates Holiday Reception – Dec. 1

Chancellor's Associates members are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception on Dec. 1 at UC Merced. For information, email specialevents@ucmerced.edu or call 209-228-RSVP.

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


Total amount of awards in September:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2011:




Chancellor Leland Formally Welcomed by Yudof, Campus

Dorothy Leland and Mark G. Yudof
View the video on YouTube

In a speech to formally welcome Chancellor Dorothy Leland Oct. 3, University of California President Mark G. Yudof said that UC Merced is California's next success story and that Leland is a proven leader who will further build the institution's research mission.

"UC Merced is here to stay," Yudof said in the Carol Tomlinson-Keasey Quad. "As remarkable as its first six years have been, its best days are yet to come. And that is good news for the valley, for the state, and for that matter, the world."

Yudof earlier in the day toured the Sierra Nevada Research Institute in Yosemite National Park before coming to campus for a welcome ceremony for Leland. Some 300 faculty, staff, students and community members attended the event.

Leland said during her speech that the 6-year-old campus has made significant contributions to the state through its innovative research and that more investment is needed for it to meet its promise to bring greater economic prosperity to the San Joaquin Valley, the fastest-growing region in the state.
[View Photo Gallery]
[Read Chancellor Leland's Speech]

Researchers Net $2M Grant for Sierra Snowpack Measurement

Snowpack measuring equipment

Instruments like these will make measuring the Sierra Nevada snowpack easier and more accurate.


UC Merced Professor Roger Bales and a team of researchers from UC Merced and UC Berkeley have received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to expand on a prototype system that uses a network of wireless sensors to track snowpack depth, water storage in soil, stream flow, and water use by vegetation in the Sierra Nevada — information that is key to efficient usage of such a scarce resource.

The senior research team is rounded out by UC Merced Professor Martha Conklin, UC Merced research scientist Bob Rice, UC Berkeley Professor Steven Glaser, and Danny Marks of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

Campus Outreach Program Awarded $3.4 Million in Federal Grants

UC Merced’s Center for Education Partnerships (CEP) has been awarded three grants totaling more than $3.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education to continue its Talent Search program to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds attend college.

The five-year grants will support academic, college preparation and financial counseling for approximately 1,500 high school students who have the potential to succeed in higher education.


Local Entrepreneur Gives $2 Million to Support UC Merced Students

Calvin E. Bright

Calvin E. Bright


The Bright Family Foundation has donated $2 million to UC Merced to provide advising and learning support services to students during their first year and beyond.

The Calvin E. Bright Success Center, which will be established with the gift, will ensure that all students have the resources necessary to achieve their academic goals at UC Merced.

“Our young people are the future of the Central Valley and California and we all play a role in helping ensure that they can reach their fullest potential,” said Calvin E. Bright, president and chairman of the Modesto-based Bright Family Foundation and a UC Merced trustee since 2000. “I remember the difficulties I encountered in my first year in college and I am committed to helping give students who have a will to succeed the support they need to achieve their goals and dreams.”
[Read more.]

Citi Gift Helps CEP Empower Parents

The University of California chose to locate its newest campus in Merced in hopes of increasing the number of San Joaquin Valley students who earn college degrees. In turn, UC Merced created its Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) with the goal of effecting long-range improvement in the education of Valley students.

Now, the comprehensive student academic preparation and educational partnership has gotten a boost, thanks to a gift from Citi. The financial corporation has donated $33,000 to support CEP’s Parent Empowerment Program (PEP), which gives parents the tools necessary to support their students’ goals of attending and graduating from four-year universities.


Professor Creates Powerful HIV Inhibitor

Patricia LiWang

UC Merced Professor Patricia LiWang has designed an HIV inhibitor that can protect people against nearly every strain of the deadly virus.


In a significant step toward reducing the threat of HIV, UC Merced Professor Patricia LiWang has designed what may be the most effective chemical inhibitor against infection of the virus.

"We need a fairly wide arsenal of HIV drugs because the virus is always mutating," LiWang said. "Drugs become less effective as time goes on."

LiWang's inhibitor, a novel combination of two existing drugs, has a strength that ranges from several times better than existing inhibitors to several hundred times better, depending on the strain of HIV. The inhibitor works by blocking HIV from entering a person's cell at two different steps of viral entry. This so-called "entry inhibition" is at the forefront of new strategies for stopping the virus. Other existing inhibitors have different strategies, such as preventing HIV from carrying out activities like replicating or integrating into the human genome.

Winston Unveils Innovative Solar Cooling Project

Roland Winston with solar researchers

UC Merced Professor Roland Winston, left, and a team of student researchers designed and developed a system of non-tracking solar thermal collectors.


Using solar thermal energy to power an air-conditioning unit can be difficult and expensive. But UC Merced Professor Roland Winston and his team of student researchers have added a game-changing advance to the process that could make it easier, less costly and more effective.

Winston and his team have designed and developed a system that gathers and concentrates sunlight onto specially made collector tubes. The heat generated can then be transformed using existing technology for cooling, heating and a number of other potential uses.The key factor in their design is this: The collectors are stationary.


Students Clash in Month-Long Battle to Save Water

Valley Terrace residence halls

UC Merced students in the nine Valley Terrace residence halls battle over who can conserve the most amount of water during the monthlong Water Battle 2011.


UC Merced students in the nine Valley Terrace residence halls are battling over who can conserve the most amount of water during the monthlong Water Battle 2011.

Hundreds of UC Merced students are about to learn just how far they can stretch a drop of water.

A“UC Merced Water Battle 2011” begins Saturday, pitting students in the nine Valley Terrace residence halls against each other in a monthlong water conservation competition. The hall that saves the most water per person through Oct. 31 wins a pizza party, prizes and $1,000 to donate to local nonprofit organization.



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