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November 10, 2009


News Blog


Homecoming: Rekindling Friendships and School Spirit

On Oct. 24, UC Merced alumni returned to their alma mater to celebrate the campus’ first homecoming.  From finalizing the Alumni Association constitution to attending a Career Services workshop to taking part in a shopping cart float parade, everyone had a great time rekindling friendships. We look forward to this growing tradition!

Visit the Alumni Association Web site to view the ratified constitution. If you are interested in developing the Alumni Associations by-laws, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Madril.


Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series – Nov. 14

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts professor Robin DeLugan will discuss “Academic Frontiers: How Anthropology Studies Science,” at the Nov. 14 Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series. Her lecture starts at 10 a.m. at the Castle Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, Atwater. The event is free and open to the public.

MTS Lecture Series – Nov. 16

The Mind, Technology and Society lecture series, sponsored by a generous gift from the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, will wrap up for the semester on Dec. 7. All lectures take place at 2:30 p.m. in KL 232 on the dates listed below:

Nov. 16 – David Noelle, UC Merced

Dec. 7 – Daragh Sibley, University of Wisconsin

For information: ckello@ucmerced.edu or cogsci.ucmerced.edu.

Spendlove Prize Lecture: Faye J. Crosby – Nov. 20
Faye J. Crosby

Faye J. Crosby


A lecture and reception honoring Faye J. Crosby as distinguished recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance will be at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 20 on the third floor of the Leo & Dottie Kolligian Library.

A UC Santa Cruz professor of social psychology since 1997, Crosby investigates both the dynamics of and remedies for sex and race discrimination. She has been on the faculty at Rhode Island College, Yale, Smith College and The Kellogg School of Management. A prolific writer, Crosby has also fulfilled leadership roles in many institutions and is the founder of Nag's Heart, an organization that supports women and men who work for gender equity. RSVP to specialevents@ucmerced.edu.

Campus Landscape Symposium – Nov. 20

Physical Planning, Design & Construction will host a symposium on UC Merced’s campus landscape from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 20 in the California Room. The public forum will feature a presentation of the campus plan followed by brief talks by landscape architects regarding their design ideas and plant choices. All members of the campus community and public are invited to attend and participate in a Q&A session and to offer input for consideration in the development of the campus landscape design standards.

Arts UC Merced Presents … Holiday Concerts

UC Merced Chorale’s Holiday Concert will perform at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in the Lakireddy Auditorium. The chorale is a student ensemble under the direction of Lorraine Walsh. Admission is free.

For information: arts.ucmerced.edu.


Heidi Kühn to Speak at Holiday Reception – Dec. 3

Chancellor's Associates are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception on Dec. 3 featuring a special presentation by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Public Service recipient and Chancellor’s Associates Scholar – Heidi Kühn.

Kühn is regarded as a revolutionary leader for her inspirational work creating Roots of Peace – an organization dedicated to transforming toxic minefields into bountiful agricultural fields.

Prior to her work on the landmine issue, Kühn owned her own television news organization, NewsLink International, reporting for CNN and other news organizations.

For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109. RSVP: specialevents@ucmerced.edu or (209) 228-7787.


Total amount of awards in October:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2009 to October 31, 2009:



UC Merced Boosts California’s Economy Nearly $1B

campus constructionAs California’s newest public research university, UC Merced is having a profound, positive impact on the long-term economic health of California and the San Joaquin Valley region – an economy already thriving on the knowledge and discoveries that result from scholarly and scientific research, and the brainpower of hundreds of graduates each year.

The campus contributed nearly $456 million in direct economic value to the San Joaquin Valley since the beginning of operations in Merced in July 2000. Statewide, the university's economic contribution over the nine-year period is nearing the $1 billion mark.

"UC Merced has quickly become a vital catalyst for long-term economic growth and development throughout the San Joaquin Valley," said UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang.  "This has been one of our most important objectives since the campus was first envisioned 20 years ago.  In a region with higher poverty and unemployment rates than any other major region in the state, we are extremely pleased to be creating good jobs, making major investments and increasing tax revenues at a rapid pace."

Solar Array Up and Running

UC Merced celebrated a radiant milestone with the official unveiling of the new solar photovoltaic array, a system that will provide the campus with a source of clean, renewable energy.

Scores of attendees, from elected officials to students participating in renewable energy research, were on hand for the dedication ceremony held on campus.

The 1-megawatt solar array, located on 8.5 acres southeast of the Science and Engineering Building, consists of about 4,800 solar panels that track the sun’s movement and collect sunlight to convert into energy. The system will supply 20 percent of the campus’ annual electricity needs.

Campus officials said that the array will save the campus more than $5 million annually in electricity costs because it produces power more cheaply than what is available from the traditional power grid.

“That is a significant amount saved that could be used instead for research and academic programs,” said Mary Miller, vice chancellor for administration.

Developing alternative, renewable sources of energy to fuel the campus’ energy needs is part of UC Merced’s strategy to achieve zero net energy, zero landfill waste and climate neutrality by 2020.

“Our professors are using their expertise to create a portfolio of renewable energy options that will help UC Merced continue toward our goal of being one of the greenest campuses in the United States,” Chancellor Steve Kang said.

Campus Police Awarded Grant to Combat Violence Against Women

A recent grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will enable the UC Merced Police Department to launch programs to maintain the safe campus environment it has helped to cultivate since the university opened in 2005. The $299,756 grant provides funding for the department to create and strengthen preventive, healing and criminal justice procedures that address violence against women.

"The goal is to implement a comprehensive, multi-phased collaborative program that reaches out to and educates the campus community on issues of violence against women, and supports survivors," said Chief of Police Rita Spaur. "Even one assault in our community is too many."

Aside from helping the campus community maintain its existing level of safety, Spaur said the three-year grant gives the university the tools necessary to serve the campus population as it grows.


Literature Professor Authors Book on Dorothea Lange

Photo by Dorthea Lange

Photo by Dorthea Lange


Jan Goggans, professor of literature at UC Merced, recently published “California on the Breadlines,” a compelling account of how photographer Dorothea Lange and her husband, economist Paul Taylor, devoted their lives to documenting the plight of California’s dispossessed.

Goggans blends biography, literature and history to retrace the paths that brought Lange and Taylor together, and she shows how their landmark book, “American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion,” set forth a new way of understanding the Great Depression.


Intern Learns to Balance Academics with Involvement

Shavone CharlesFor Shavone Charles, too much is never enough. The UC Merced sophomore enrolled at UC Merced in fall 2008 with one plan in mind: Do everything possible.

She signed up as a peer mentor, became active in Resident Housing Government, chaired a committee for the African Black Coalition’s conference, wrote for the student newspaper and dabbled in just about every other club that caught her eye.

“I chose UC Merced to be a part of something new, and I purposely over-involved myself from the moment I set foot on campus,” she said. “I did it to see what I truly wanted to do, to figure out my passion.”

A year later, the literature and cultures major says she’s learned her share of lessons. The most important one? School must come first.


Legacy Circle Donors Meet Robots and Researchers

Legacy Circle Dinner

View photo collage of event.


Each year, the campus honors individuals and corporations who have reached a lifetime giving level of $100,000 or more with a special evening. Last month’s third annual Legacy Circle dinner provided donors an insider’s view of some of the cutting-edge research made possible by their thoughtful gifts.

Donors met with robots and tried on an eye-tracking device while learning about the progress UC Merced is making in the area of robotics. Faculty and graduate students from each school demonstrated how robotic systems are radically transforming all aspects of emergency response – from search and rescue to medical assistance. Engineering professor Stefano Carpin presented "Robotic Assistance in Emergency Response;" Tao Ye, professor in the School of Natural Sciences, discussed "Nanoscale Machinery;" and cognitive science professor Michael Spivey explained "Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) and Cognitive and Information Sciences."

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