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.

December 15, 2005



John Garamendi, Jr.

John Garamendi, Jr.


Dear Friends,

As we approach the end of the first semester at UC Merced, I want to thank all of you for your support during this most remarkable year.

After a long and winding journey, we finally achieved the dream of opening a 10th UC campus in Merced less than four months ago. Many of you have been involved with this monumental undertaking from the early days, and each of you has played a key role in helping reach this milestone. We did this together!

Your passion, commitment and many contributions are inspiring. It has been my privilege to get to know you and work side-by-side with you. I look forward to building on these relationships as we partner to support the continued development of UC Merced.

On behalf of the entire University Relations team, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a festive holiday season and a happy, healthy new year.

With appreciation and best wishes,

John Garamendi, Jr.



Responses have been flowing in for this Monday's (December 19) Holiday Celebration and tour of the Central Plant. As of earlier this week, our office had received confirmation that 184 Chancellor's Associates members and guests are planning to attend the celebration. We hope that still more of you can join us for the party beginning at 5:30 p.m. It's not too late to R.S.V.P. by contacting Robin McIntyre in Special Events at (209) 724-4416 or specialevents@ucmerced.edu.

For this year's festivities, we're excited to showcase UC Merced's Central Plant by hosting the celebration and a pre-event tour in this ultra-modern facility.

Starting at 5 p.m., guests will be treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the plant's inner workings, with experts on hand to explain the Central Plant's role in making UC Merced one of the most energy-efficient campuses in the nation. Please R.S.V.P. for the tour by calling (209) 724-4452 or e-mailing devassistant@ucmerced.edu.

For those of you planning to attend either of these events, please follow the event signs to the parking lot adjacent to the Central Plant. Because parking space is limited, we encourage carpooling.

During the past month, many of you have renewed your Chancellor's Associates membership and we're very happy to welcome you back: Lee and Sandee Boese, Jim and Sabra Abbate, Fred and Mitzie Ruiz, Ed and Jeanne Kashian, John and Nancy Westerholm, Terry and Sonia Allen, Dan and Jan Mendenhall, Ray and Joan Dezember, Gundala and Manju Reddy, Dennis and Doreen Pellissier, Dr. Daniel Ikemiyashiro, Warren and Susan Wainwright, Bob and Suzanne Carpenter, Grey Roberts and Bette Woolstenhulme, Carol Tomlinson-Keasey and Blake Keasey, and Nancy Brawley.

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.



With approximately $200,000 remaining to reach the ultimate goal of raising $1.365 million, the Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium Expansion Campaign has been identified as the top fundraising priority for the UC Merced Foundation. Building on the initial major gift by Mike Gallo and Linda Jelacich to honor their father, Joseph Gallo, the campaign is continuing to provide critical funding for this valuable facility. The center is on track to open for the use of students and the community in August 2006.

Sandee Boese, Mike Gallo, Billie Razzari, Ken Robbins and Ralph Temple compose the committee of dedicated volunteers that has provided successful leadership for the campaign. The committee is now focused on the Bleacher Seat portion of the campaign, with bleacher seats available for purchase at $1,000 per seat. Some donors have chosen to purchase multiple seats and name them for members of their family. Donors can designate the name or names to be placed on each seat. In addition, the names of donors will be featured on a special plaque that will be prominently displayed in the gymnasium to recognize donors.

Bleacher seats are still available for purchase and all gifts are greatly appreciated. Tax deductible for both individuals and businesses, contributions to the campaign can be paid over the 2005 and 2006 tax years.

For additional information, please contact members of the campaign committee or Associate Vice Chancellor Mike Campbell at (209) 724-4402.


The Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act (KETRA), signed into federal law in late September, offers a unique window of opportunity for end-of-the-year philanthropy. Intended to ease the burdens caused by the devastating hurricane, the emergency act also permits individuals to deduct gifts of up to 100 percent of their gross adjusted income compared to the 50 percent ceiling that governs other tax years.

To be eligible, donations must be cash gifts to charitable organizations, including public universities, and contributions made be made before the end of 2005.

Gifts of appreciated securities, real estate and other non-cash donations will only be deductible up to 30 percent of a taxpayer's adjusted gross income.

For further information about KETRA, please consider reviewing these informational resources suggested by Geoffrey O'Neill in the UC Office of the General Counsel:

Summary of the Charitable Aspects of the Act from PG Calc, Inc.

Summary of Legal Aspects of the Act from Ropes and Gray, LLP

Joint Committee on Taxation Explanation (charitable provisions on page 14, Section 301)



Chancellor's Medal Awarded to Bettylou George

Bettylou George

Bettylou George is a former board member for the Virginia Smith Trust and was a longtime educator in Merced.


In a very special presentation that was part of Wednesday's (Dec. 14) Foundation Board of Trustees meeting and reception, Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey awarded the UC Merced Chancellor's Medal to one of the campus' most dedicated advocates, Bettylou George.

Presented to individuals who have stepped up to lead the effort to develop the first UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley, the Chancellor's Medal is the top honor a campus can give to recognize extraordinary support. George has been involved with the community effort to support UC Merced since the 1980s.

A longtime educator in the Merced community, George served on the boards of the Merced County Office of Education and the Virginia Smith Trust for many years. She also has been one of the most active community leaders, with extensive participation in educational, arts and historical organizations.


Professor Charles Ogletree Engages Campus and Community

Charles Ogletree and student

Charles Ogletree hands a signed copy of his book to a UC Merced student during his recent visit, which happened to fall on the opening day of the Bobcat Bookstore.


Fulfilling his commitment to leave a legacy at UC Merced as the first recipient of the annual Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance, Harvard professor and Merced native Charles Ogletree returned to campus Dec. 5 for a day of interactive sessions with students, faculty, staff and community members.

To kick off his visit, Ogletree met with Merced County high school students for a presentation on civil rights, engaging them in discussions and challenging them to take responsibility for change. In the afternoon, he headed off to the Bobcat Bookstore to give away signed copies of his recent historical memoir, "All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education" to UC Merced students from Merced County. The books were made available through a donation by Sherrie Spendlove-Gallo, who also funded the Spendlove Prize in honor of her parents.

Members of the campus and local communities overflowed the large space in the Kolligian Library set aside for Ogletree's late-afternoon public lecture addressing the future of diversity in America.

Ogletree, who recently created a scholarship fund to benefit local students attending UC Merced, plans to return to Merced soon in his capacity as the Spendlove Prize recipient. He hopes to further engage local students and offer them the same benefits he received from role models and mentors while growing up.


UC Merced Forms Partnership with Great Valley Center

Central Valley grasslands scene

UC Merced and the Great Valley Center are joining forces to address economic, social and environmental issues of importance to the Central Valley.


The Modesto-based Great Valley Center (GVC) and UC Merced recently announced plans to combine the networks and connections of GVC with the research capacity and intellectual resources of the newest UC campus in a strategic partnership.

“I could not be more pleased with this partnership,” said GVC president Carol Whiteside at the announcement event. “It enables us to share our resources and vision, and build toward a much brighter future for the Central Valley."

GVC will continue to provide regionally focused data and information, facilitate leadership development programs for elected officials and teenagers, and assist in the coordination of regional projects. Its network of community leaders, nonprofit organizations and businesses will combine with UC Merced’s in-depth focus on academic research on the critical issues facing the Central Valley.

“Carol Whiteside and the Great Valley Center have been working for years to pull together separate entities in the Valley,” said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey at the event. “That regional approach is what we need to address critical issues facing our region, such as the health services that are needed up and down our Valley. Now, we want to build on the good work that has already been done and get this part of the state more notice.”

The partnership also offers faculty members the opportunity to leverage the GVC's expanded research mission to involve talented and motivated students in solving important problems facing our community.


Alumni Affairs Coordinator Comes on Board

Stefani Martinez

Stefani Martinez


As the newest addition to the University Relations staff, Merced native Stefani Martinez is laying the groundwork for a campus alumni association and cultivating interest among its future founding members.

Among her first tasks as alumni affairs coordinator is connecting with undergraduate students, helping to foster a sense of community among students and identifying the factors that will keep students connected with the campus after they graduate. Starting with a student "alumni" organization, Martinez hopes to engage current undergraduates - and future graduates - in the development of the official UC Merced Alumni Association. She also is working with members of the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network to offer events, career networking opportunities and support to students.

"An alumni association can play a very important role for a university. My goal is to create a strong foundation for ours," said Martinez, who helped shape the student alumni association at UC San Diego, where she graduated with a degree in political science. "I have also seen the contributions a UC campus provides and am thrilled that a new UC campus has opened in my hometown."

She returned to Merced to work for the new campus, serving initially as an assistant to the director of Business and Financial Services. Previously, Martinez was employed with a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C. and a government media relations office in London, England.



Renowned Berkeley Physicist Raymond Chiao to Join UC Merced Faculty

Raymond Chiao

Raymond Chiao


Professor Raymond Chiao of the UC Berkeley Physics Department has accepted a joint faculty appointment in UC Merced’s schools of Natural Science and Engineering.

“Professor Chiao’s expertise and experience as a researcher and teacher will be enormous assets,” said Dean Maria Pallavicini of the School of Natural Sciences. “His high-level research is going to have a major impact on the physical sciences and engineering academic programs at UC Merced.”

Chiao is an award-winning atomic, molecular and optical physicist. When he sets up shop in Merced, generous startup funds from the UC system will allow him to pursue a new line of research – attempting to detect the gravitational radiation predicted decades ago by Albert Einstein.

“If I were to be successful in this new research at Merced, the results would be extremely important, as the generation and detection of a new kind of ‘gravity radio waves’ would open up whole new areas of science and engineering, such as a new kind of long-distance wireless communication,” said Chiao.

Gravitational radiation would be able to travel through the earth, potentially creating a direct line of wireless communication between opposite points on the globe.

Chiao completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in physics. After two years at M.I.T., he joined UC Berkeley as an Alfred P. Sloan fellow in 1967. Among his many honors and awards, he counts the 2006 Willis E. Lamb Medal for Laser Science and Quantum Optics.



December 9, 2005
Merced Sun-Star
"Since You Asked" Column
By Professor Christopher Viney

The orbit of our neighbors in space

Q: "In 2003 and 2005, Mars was closer to Earth than at any other time in the past 60,000 years. Why don't close approaches happen more often?"
Question submitted by Celeste Castillo (age 13), in the ninth grade at Our Lady of Mercy School, Merced (Mrs. Keeler's class).

A: Our solar system contains at least nine planets orbiting the sun. Simplified diagrams of the solar system usually represent the orbits as circles, with the sun at the center of these circles.

December 6, 2005
Merced Sun-Star
By Rosalio Ahumada

UC store opens

Before Monday morning, Nicole Dasig had never bought any apparel with the University of California, Merced, logo.
"I never really saw anything I liked," said Dasig, a junior transfer student from Escalon.

December 1, 2005
Fresno Bee
By Jim Steinberg

UC Merced students rate school

MERCED — Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey invited 10 University of California, Merced, students to lunch with her Wednesday to tell her what they think about their campus, the newest in the UC system.

The reaction was mixed: UC Merced provides excellent academics, the students said, but not much else, at least so far.

November 29, 2005
Merced Sun-Star
By Rosalio Ahumada

Artist to students: Remember your roots

The status of poet laureate and speaking at Yale University have not detached Jose Montoya from his Chicano culture or family upbringing.

The 74-year-old poet, graphic artist, musician and community activist hopes Latino college students do the same.

November 18, 2005
Modesto Bee
By Lorena Anderson

Great Valley Center teams up

UC Merced partnership will allow research, funds to flow between the two

When it comes to scholarly clout, there's nothing like a major research university.

That's why Great Valley Center organizers are grabbing some credibility, not only for their research, but for their financial needs, by partnering with the University of California at Merced.


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