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


November 19, 2007



Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception – Dec. 7

Chancellor’s Associates members, you are invited to join Chancellor Steve Kang for an evening of networking and holiday cheer at the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception on Friday, Dec. 7. We encourage you to invite prospective members to attend this special event. A formal invitation is in the mail.


A special thank you to all our Chancellor’s Associates members who, through their annual contributions and participation, have made the campus’ premier donor group such a great success.

Chancellor Kang would like to welcome new Chancellor’s Associates members:

Hugh and Connie Codding
Karen and Russell Merritt
Mary and Richard Miller
Ray and Margo Souza

In addition to renewing members:

Keith and Jill Alley
Lee and Ann Andersen
Sima Asadi and Ahmad Foroutan
Donald Barclay
Bill and Dorothy Bizzini
Ralph and Betty Busby
Pericles Cezar and Jana Stewart-Cezar
Kathleen Childress and Jesse Brown
Bert and Nancy Crane
James and Carlene Cunningham
Tim and Lisa Dylina
Ruth Fromson and Dennis Hanks
Robert and Bette Gaestel
Robert and Marie Gallo
Urla Garland
Skip and Michelle George
Kenji Hakuta and Nancy Goodban
Dennis and Novie Heppner
Nancy Holmes
Mike and Betty Hoyt
Betty Hunt
Joseph and Sharon Levy
David and Christine Long
Michael and Marian Mason
Mel and Arlene Maxwell
Jan and Dan Mendenhall
Bruce Miller
Galen and Melba Miyamoto
Edith Nahas and Tony Laverdure
Richard Piper
Carl and Linda Roland
Bob and Micki Rucker
Fred and Mitzie Ruiz
Mark and Marcee Samberg
Steve and Sian Sloan
Samuel and Kathleen Tenenbaum
Don and Betty Stewart
Don Stewart, Jr. and Kelly Pirtle
Ralph Temple and Carole Whitehill
Witold and Norma Willer
Chi Chi and Roger Wood
David and Holly Zacharias

For more information on becoming a Chancellor’s Associates member, please contact Victor Mitre, director of annual giving programs at (209) 228-4297.



Students Establish Collegiate Alumni Foundation

The UC Merced Alumni Association announces the development of the Collegiate Alumni Foundation (CAF). The CAF is a student-organized philanthropic group created to encourage students and alumni to give back to UC Merced. The student-led foundation will focus on providing scholarships to students from interest earned through an established endowment. Student trustees had the privilege of presenting information on the CAF at the Oct. 17 UC Merced Board of Trustees meeting. Members Emily Tewes, Sam Fong, David Radtke and Ryan Rhodes are looking forward to building an organization that will serve UC Merced for years to come.

"Because our campus is still relatively small, this is the perfect opportunity to create a lasting culture of philanthropy at UC Merced," Emily Tewes said.

For more information on the CAF, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Martinez at (209) 228-2586.



Campus Celebrates “UC Merced 2.0” at Chancellor’s Inauguration

Chancellor Steve Kang at his inauguration

After the formal investiture by President Dynes, Chancellor Kang spoke about his vision for UC Merced. View Photos


Steve Kang was inaugurated as the second chancellor of the University of California, Merced, Nov. 6 in a ceremony on the campus’ academic quad at 10 a.m. Kang was joined on the platform by UC President Robert C. Dynes and Regent Russell S. Gould, as well as other UC and government officials. The keynote speaker was Arno Penzias, Ph.D., who received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1978. The audience included more than 600 UC Merced faculty members, staffers, students and invited friends of the campus.

“UC Merced is just stepping into its new phase, which, as an engineer, I would call, ‘UC Merced 2.0,” Kang told the crowd, emphasizing that the next phase of development would be distinguished by innovation in every aspect of the campus’ endeavors.

As hallmarks of UC Merced 2.0, he mentioned academic excellence, international partnerships, community service programs, new management and medical schools, technology for distance learning and medicine, entrepreneurship, and continued efforts to reach underserved populations and improve the quality of life in the San Joaquin Valley. Kang’s speech also invoked the early climbers of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

“Our well-loved campus is thriving and poised for great achievements,” Kang said. “As we plant our roots deeply here in the shadows of Yosemite’s Half Dome, it is now time for the other Half Dome of the highest ideals and academic excellence to flourish.”

Dynes told the audience that Kang’s “bold vision for this young campus has galvanized the region.

“His personal enthusiasm has endeared him to faculty, students and staff,” Dynes said. “And his passion for innovation will help realize the founders’ vision of transforming the Valley.”

Penzias’ keynote speech focused on the importance of public support for higher education – he recalled his experiences in the New York City public schools and City College of New York. Like Kang and many UC Merced students, Penzias was a first-generation college-goer. He called public education “the foundation of the American Dream.”

Inauguration-related festivities continued all week with a scholarship fundraiser luncheon; receptions for students, faculty and staff; and a symposium with Kang and other engineering faculty speaking about “Technology and Society.”

UC Merced Mentioned in Sierra Magazine

Sierra magazine

UC Merced was part of the “coolest schools” ranking in the November/December issue of Sierra Magazine.


UC Merced received a mention as part of the UC system in a recent honor from Sierra, the magazine of the Sierra Club. The system was named number four nationwide in a list of the “coolest” schools – schools that “get it” on environmental sustainability. UC Merced’s recognized accomplishment was the LEED Gold certification of the Central Plant. LEED certification of additional buildings is expected in the next several months, and multiple efforts toward sustainability continue in many divisions of the campus.



Professor Selected for Presidential Science and Engineering Award

Shawn Newsam

Shawn Newsam

Shawn Newsam, an assistant professor in the School of Engineering at UC Merced, has been selected for a prestigious award from the White House.

The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is bestowed by the president's Office of Science and Technology Policy on young researchers who have accomplished innovative research and community service. It is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young scientists and engineers, and Newsam is the first UC Merced faculty member to receive it.

"We are delighted at this high-level national recognition of Shawn Newsam's innovative research and great accomplishments and excited for the stature the award adds to our university," said Chancellor Steve Kang.

"Shawn's work in computer vision lies at the very forefront of research in this area, as recognized by this magnificent award," said Dean Jeff Wright of the UC Merced School of Engineering. More info

McNair Grant Supports Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded University of California, Merced, with a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program grant, which should give the university at least $220,000 each year for the next five years.

Over the course of those five years, the grant will allow 50 students, generally low-income or first-generation college students, to participate as McNair Scholars conducting research with UC Merced faculty during their junior and senior years. McNair Scholars receive up to $2,800 in the summer to support research-related expenses, such as travel or lodging. They also receive funding to attend national and international conferences with their professors, and to join professional organizations. The participants enjoy structured mentoring from graduate students and faculty, and they have access to a variety of special activities that help orient them to a scholarly career.

The goal of the McNair program, named for the African-American astronaut who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion, is to increase the number of Ph.D. degrees earned by students from underrepresented groups.

“Research is an integral component of education in the University of California,” said Sam Traina, acting vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate Division at UC Merced. “The McNair program will increase our ability to develop UC research experiences for undergraduates in the San Joaquin Valley. Working as integral members of the research teams of UC faculty will open additional doors for these students.”



Form and Function: Martial Arts Club Medals in Berkeley Tourney

Martial Arts Club members

The Martial Arts Club finished strong at its first tournament, scoring two gold medals and a trophy.


UC Merced’s Martial Arts Club recently returned from its first competition, bringing home two gold medals and a trophy.

Club President Chris Abrescy calls the experience of competing at UC Berkeley’s Third Annual UC Yongmudo Championship nothing short of amazing. The Oct. 27 tournament was open to non-collegiate competitors, though most participants were from UC Berkeley.

“We had to stick to a rigorous practice schedule before the tournament,” Abrescy said of the team’s competitive debut. “The hard work felt like it really paid off.

The payoff was a gold award in the categories of Synchronized Team Forms and Team Skit, and a trophy for Best Team Event. More info



Two Scholarships Aim to Honor Mentors, Help Students

Diana and Leon Chua

Leon and Diana Chua

Bettine and Emeritus Ernest S. Kuh

Ernest and Bettine Kuh


Chancellor Steve Kang knows what the opportunity to go to college on scholarship can mean to a student. That’s how he started his own education.

He also knows the value of mentoring from seasoned professors and administrators. So he and his wife, Mia, chose to establish two scholarships for UC Merced students, honoring professors who influenced Kang’s own career.

“Mia and I simply want to extend our thanks to those who helped us and our goodwill to the students who are now rising through the university,” said Kang. “We are fortunate to be able to do so by establishing these scholarships, and we intend for them to continue indefinitely.”

The Kangs will donate $60,000 in monthly installments over five years to establish endowments for the scholarships.

One scholarship honors Kang’s Ph.D. advisor, Professor Leon Chua of UC Berkeley, and his wife, Diana. The other honors Berkeley Engineering Dean Emeritus Ernest S. Kuh and his wife, Bettine.

The scholarships – in the amount of $1,000 each – were awarded for the first time to freshmen entering UC Merced in Fall 2007.  The Chua scholarship will be awarded on a need basis, while the Kuh scholarship will be awarded on a merit basis. The Kangs hope the scholarships will help deserving students achieve their dream of attending a top research university.



Second Spendlove Prize Announcement and Lecture – Nov. 26

John Y. Tateishi

John Y. Tateishi


UC Merced will award Trustee John Y. Tateishi, an activist for civil rights, with this year’s Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 in the Classroom Building Kris-Tangella Lecture Hall. Tateishi will give a lecture to students, faculty, staff and the community. There will be a reception immediately following the event.

The $10,000 award comes from an endowment to the university from Sherrie Spendlove, given in honor of her parents to recognize a scholar, author, artist, or citizen whose work exemplifies the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in local and global society.

Tateishi has been involved with Asian American communities for nearly 30 years, gaining national prominence in 1978 when he launched a national campaign to seek redress for Japanese Americans interned in U.S. detention camps during World War II.

For more information, contact specialevents@ucmerced.edu.

UC Merced Announces Pacific Gas and Electric Company Gift – Nov. 28

Come see how the university, private business, student leaders and community partners are collaborating to strengthen our region.

UC Merced will announce a generous gift to the School of Engineering from Pacific Gas and Electric Company at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 in the Academic Quad. Following the program, there will be guided tours of the Science and Engineering Building.

For more information, contact specialevents@ucmerced.edu.

MTS Lecture Series Continues Through the Semester

The Mind, Technology, and Society Talk lecture series will continue at 6 p.m. Thursdays in COB 116. Topics to be covered include motion perception, motor control, motion path planning, navigation, hand movement, motion sensing, virtual characters and video games.

MTS is sponsored by the Cognitive Science Program and Computer Science & Engineering. The series’ goal is to encourage interdisciplinary research and provide a forum to learn about cutting-edge research in other areas or campuses.

For information on the series, contact Professor Teenie Matlock.

The remainder of this semester’s schedule is as follows:

Nov. 29 — David Corina, Center for Mind & Brain and Linguistics Department, UC Davis
Dec. 6 — James Whitehead, Computer Science Department, UC Santa Cruz

“Facing the Future: Portraits of UC Merced’s Founding Students”

Oct. 17 – Dec. 22
An exhibition of photography by Roger J. Wyan will be on display at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center, at 646 W. Main St., through Dec. 22. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Other events:

Nov. 22-23: Thanksgiving Holiday (UC Merced closed)



• Total amount of proposals this month: $17,491,598
• Total amount of awards this month:  $2,128,540
• Total amount of awards from July 1, 2007 to October 31, 2007: $5,857,891


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