UC Merced Update - Launching the future!


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

November 16, 2005



Invitations and information are on the way in advance of the Dec. 14 meeting and holiday reception for the Foundation Board of Trustees. For this final meeting of 2005, UC Merced is pleased to welcome Trustees to the campus, where tours and lectures are planned as part of the day's itinerary.

In the evening, Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and the Foundation Board of Trustees will host a holiday reception honoring UC Merced's founding faculty. The event will start at 6 p.m. and be held in the Kolligian Library. Please contact our Special Events office at (209) 724-4416 or specialevents@ucmerced.edu to R.S.V.P. by Dec. 7 and to obtain additional information.



SAVE THE DATE!!! All members are invited to the annual Chancellor's Associates Holiday Celebration on Dec. 19 at 5:30 p.m. To be held for the first time on the UC Merced campus, this special event will take place in the Central Plant. We hope to see all of you and encourage you to bring prospective members as your guests.

We're happy to share that many individuals have joined the Chancellor's Associates or renewed their membership within the past few weeks. Please welcome Ruth Fromson and Dennis Hanks as our newest members, and welcome back returning members Art and Fafa Kamangar, Sue and Eric Conley, Mike and Betty Hoyt, Marcee and Mark Samberg, Kenneth and Greta Elia, R. Bruce Miller, Michael Campbell, Mike and Jeanne Salvadori, Hugh and Norma Flanagan, E.J. Almo and Madeleine Lorenzi, Lee and Ann Andersen, Steve and Sian Sloan, Mark and Windie Shepherd, Mel and Arlene Maxwell, Skip and Michelle George, Karen L. Bizzini, Jim and Carlene Cunningham, Dan and Diana Dooley, Kenji Hakuta and Nancy Goodban, Jerry and Geri Tahajian, Ronald and Marcia Stewart, Ivan and Bonnie Stinson, John and Dora Bennett, Duane and Dorane Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. Reno Ferrero, Mohan and Silala Reddy, Dr. Atul and Amita Roy, Keith and Jill Alley, and Donald Barclay.

For more information about the Chancellor’s Associates, please contact Associate Vice Chancellor Mike Campbell at (209) 724-4402 or by e-mail at mcampbell@ucmerced.edu.



We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of our friend Keith Shaffer. Widely known as an extraordinary man, he created a legacy as a business and civic leader in Santa Cruz County where he and his wife, Elinor, lived, as well as a highly successful orchid breeder. A true friend to education, this native of Atwater and his wife have provided ongoing support to UC Merced for which we are very grateful. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, family and friends.



Campus Accepting New Student Applications for Fall 2006

Please help get the word out: Students interested in gaining freshman and transfer admission to UC Merced in Fall 2006 are strongly encouraged to submit the University of California’s Application for Undergraduate Admission and Scholarships by the deadline of Nov. 30.

For Fall 2006, UC Merced will again guarantee a freshman spot for every student who achieves Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) and completes the examinations and A-G high school courses required by the UC system. ELC is the designation for students identified by UC as being in the top 4 percent of their school’s graduating class.

“We want students to submit successful applications, and our admissions staff is ready to help them navigate the process,” said Encarnación Ruíz, director of the Office of Admissions/Relations with Schools and Colleges. “If students have questions about eligibility requirements, need assistance with the application or are trying to figure out how to make a UC education affordable, they are encouraged to contact our office as soon as possible.”

Through Jan. 15, 2006, the campus also is accepting applications from students pursuing Fall 2006 admission for graduate study.

To get more information, please contact the Office of Admissions at (866) 270-7301 toll free or (209) 381-7880 and by e-mail at admissions@ucmerced.edu, or the Graduate Division at (209) 724-4429 or by e-mail at graddiv@ucmerced.edu. Information also is available online at http://admissions.ucmerced.edu and http://graduatedivision.ucmerced.edu.


Donor-funded Genome Center to House Equipment for Several Professors

With genomes of many organisms sequenced, researchers now aim to help explore gene function and interaction. A $500,000 gift to UC Merced will fund a high-end, cooperative laboratory facility including computers, robots, and other equipment to help UC Merced genomics researchers study the genes of all kinds of organisms, from bacteria to sea creatures to human beings.

The new center will further UC Merced’s innovative plan for scientific laboratory space. Rather than islands of individual exploration, UC Merced encourages professors to collaborate in shared centers, called Core Labs, that house technology for the interdisciplinary research of the 21st century.

Having the sophisticated equipment of the Genome Center on campus will make a difference in the research of professors like Jennifer O. Manilay, Miriam Barlow and others. Manilay plans to use the new genome center in her study of the development of lymphocytes in the immune system, aiming to identify genes involved in cell fate decisions. Barlow studies the genomics of bacteria, learning about how they evolve in research she hopes will eventually help extend the useful lifetimes of antibiotics.


UC President Connects with Campus Community

Robert C. Dynes

Robert C. Dynes

As part of his ongoing efforts to explore and improve upon the University of California's impact throughout the state, UC President Robert C. Dynes recently spent a day touring the UC Merced campus and meeting with members of the campus community.

Joined by acting UC Provost Wyatt "Rory" Hume, Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and other UC Merced administrators, he started the day by participating in a Senate committee hearing on issues related to UC access and affordability.

In addition to meeting with students, faculty and staff members to hear about issues of importance to them and answer their questions, he received updates on the innovative research and educational initiatives being pursued on campus. This series of special presentations included a demonstration of solar-concentrating designs being developed on campus. Other presentations focused on topics such as water and hydrology research, UC Merced's partnership with the National Park Service, planning for a possible School of Medicine and the diverse research of the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts faculty.

The UC President finished his campus visit at an evening reception with UC alumni, students, faculty and staff members, and other special guests before heading down to Fresno for the second day of his San Joaquin Valley tour.


Astronaut Steve Robinson Visits UC Merced

Astronaut Steve Robinson meets Jeff Chang

During his recent visit to UC Merced, NASA astronaut Steve Robinson takes a moment to meet Student Affairs Fellow Jeff Chang.


NASA astronaut Steve Robinson recently completed a successful space walk perched on the end of a robot arm to cut away material between the insulating tiles underneath Space Shuttle Discovery, helping ensure a safe return to Earth. A few months later, he made another pioneering journey – to UC Merced.

“I have enormous respect for the intellectual power it takes to build a university from the Central Valley grass,” he said. “It’s exciting to see what you’ve done here.”

Robinson, a Sacramento-area native and UC alumnus, showed an astronaut’s endurance through a packed schedule on his Oct. 14 visit, which was hosted by the School of Engineering and the Vanguard student engineering club.

After an early-morning address to a packed house of elementary and middle school students at the Challenger Learning Center, Robinson proceeded to his main presentation to the UC Merced campus community and other area students in the Kolligian Library. Following the presentation, questions ranged from how rockets work to what comes next for NASA. Robinson shared plans for evolved, Apollo-style rocket launches; a return to the moon; and possibly a human visit to Mars.

In the afternoon, Robinson met with an Engineering Service Learning class and the students, faculty and staff of the School of Engineering.



UC MEXUS Grants Help Professors Collaborate with Mexican Colleagues

Mónica Medina
Rudy M. Ortiz

Mónica Medina

Rudy M. Ortiz

Professors Mónica Medina and Rudy M. Ortiz have received UC MEXUS grants to establish cooperation with Mexican institutions in marine biology. Each received a $1500 grant that will facilitate planning for cooperative research and for opportunities for UC Merced students to study marine biology in Mexico.

Ortiz’s grant will allow visits and meetings between UC Merced and the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR) in La Paz, Baja California del Sur. He plans to collaborate with researchers there to study oxidative stress – a component of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure – in marine animals, paving the way for future health advances for humans.

Medina’s grant will help establish collaboration with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexicao (UNAM) in Puerto Morelos, Yucatán and at the Universidad de Baja California Sur. This will allow a larger-scale analysis of sea coral and algae populations, Medina’s area of specialty.

Ortiz and Medina will also work to plan field courses for UC Merced students at CIBNOR.

“We plan to create a four to six-week course in which students will spend most of their time in the water examining marine environments,” said Ortiz.

The two UC Merced professors will visit their Mexican colleagues in January 2006 to plan for these research and teaching projects, with reciprocal visits to Merced to follow.



Charles Ogletree Lecture Set for Dec. 5

Charles Ogletree

Charles Ogletree


Following up on his inspiring keynote speech at UC Merced’s opening celebration, Harvard Professor and Merced native Charles Ogletree is returning on Dec. 5 for a full day of activities featuring a public lecture from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Kolligian Library.

Selected as the first recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance, Ogletree exemplifies the intent of the generous and caring spirit of the Spendloves, who knew and counseled him as he was growing up. The prize was created through the generosity of Sherrie Spendlove-Gallo in honor of her parents, who have dedicated their lives to helping students and other citizens in the Merced region. In turn, he has mentored many other young people and has started scholarships to support their educational pursuits, including a recently created fund that will benefit local students attending UC Merced.

Ogletree is the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard University, where he also directs the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. He is a renowned expert in criminal justice, public defender systems and race, and has developed an international reputation through his work in South Africa. His most recent book, “All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown V. Board of Education,” has received positive reviews and is widely cited.

While on campus in early December, Ogletree also will meet with high school students from Merced and give them copies of his book, have lunch with members of the campus community and tour the campus.



November 13, 2005
Fresno Bee

UC’s higher profile: System reaches out aggressively to boost Valley enrollment

The recent visit to Fresno by the president of the University of California underscores how the landscape has changed in higher education for Valley students in just a few years.

For decades, the Valley was given short shrift by UC. Higher education was left in the hands of California State University campuses, such as Fresno State. That was fine so far as it went, but UC campuses offer a number of opportunities that aren't available from CSU.

November 7, 2005
Modesto Bee
By Lorena Anderson

Taking Stock at UC Merced

If feelings at midterms are gauge, inaugural class is doing just fine


Just mentioning the tests causes some to panic.

But for students, teachers and administrators at the University of California at Merced, this year's midterms — the first for the inaugural class — are a chance to reflect. And not just to look back on what's happened in the classroom, but also to examine their school and themselves.

November 3, 2005
Modesto Bee
By Lorena Anderson

Chancellor Fosters Partnership

Trip to China helps parks, universities toward research deal

A recent four-day trip to China kicked off what could be a long relationship between the University of California at Merced and Sichuan University in western China.

October 23, 2005
Modesto Bee
By Lorena Anderson

Building Goes On at UC Merced

The campus at the University of California at Merced seems tranquil now that opening day is over and students have settled in.

There are signs of student life everywhere — from the messages written on dorm-room windows and the almost full parking lots to the empty St. Pauli Girl beer bottle recently seen lying among the cedar chips that line a planting bed.

But don't let the calm fool you.

October 22, 2005
Merced Sun-Star
Editorial by Dr. Robert Fore

Job landscape, requirements changing rapidly

Picture a triangle resting on its base. For generations, this shape accurately portrayed the configuration of labor needs in the U.S.

Vast numbers of jobs existed at the bottom, jobs requiring little academic knowledge or technical skill. Some required brute strength; others simple, mind-numbing tedium. Rapid advances in mechanical technology, the explosion of telecommunications and the surging, competitive global economy mean the worlds of work and education in America must achieve a new, higher and more productive relationship.


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