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


December 17, 2007



Spendlove Prize Awarded to Trustee Tateishi

John Tateishi, second from left, is Spendlove prize winner.

Spendlove Prize winner, John Tateishi, second from left.


UC Merced Trustee John Y. Tateishi, an activist for civil rights, has won this year's Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance. 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.

“This recognition means a great deal because of the connection between my work with Japanese Americans and the Central Valley where UC Merced resides,” said Tateishi. “I look forward to continuing interaction with the campus community and helping to prepare the next generation to take the torch and continue working for justice and tolerance.”

The prize winner spends one year "in residence" at UC Merced, working on projects that further the goals of the prize, including lectures, publications, demonstrations and exhibitions. In the end, the recipient is expected to produce or provide a legacy that would be retained at UC Merced, such as a publication or an artistic production.

Chancellor’s Korea Trip Yields International Opportunities

President Lee and Chancellor Kang

Chancellor Kang signs a Memorandum of Understanding with President Jang-Moo Lee of Seoul National University.


During a recent trip to South Korea, Chancellor Steve Kang signed four memoranda of understanding with universities, enabling UC Merced students and faculty to interact with their peers on an international level. These cooperative agreements are intended to further education and research opportunities at the universities involved.

In addition to partnerships with universities in India and China, UC Merced now has an official working relationship with the following Korean universities:

Yonsei University
Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)
Catholic University of Daegu
Seoul National University

These agreements pave the way for UC Merced to engage in joint seminars and research projects and exchange programs for faculty and students.

“Simply put, these partnerships allow for international academic cooperation,” Chancellor Kang said. “Each university has pledged to share collaborations and promote exchange of students, scholars and staff members for mutual benefits.” [More]

UC Merced Updates Regents on Medical School Plans

Chancellor Steve Kang and Dean of Natural Sciences Maria Pallavicini provided an informational update to the UC Regents’ committees on educational policy and health services regarding UC Merced’s plans to establish a school of medicine at the Regents’ Nov. 15 meeting in Los Angeles. No action was taken or expected at this meeting. Updates were also presented by UC Riverside and the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science regarding planning for a new medical school and expanding health sciences initiatives at those locations, respectively.

Access to health care is 31 percent lower in the Valley than in the rest of California. To address the serious and disproportionate shortage of physicians, particularly specialists, in the region, UC Merced proposes to establish a new school of medicine. The proposal is based on more than two years of program planning, collaboration and ongoing consultations and has overwhelming support from the Valley community, including elected officials who represent the area. No new hospital or clinical facilities will be established. The instructional program is based on a distributed model of medical education that leverages partnerships with UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program and UC Davis, and utilizes existing healthcare resources in the Valley.

UC Merced’s aim is to go back to the Regents in 2008 to obtain an approval to continue to plan.



Winston Awarded UC Presidential Endowed Chair

Roland Winston



Professor Roland Winston, jointly appointed in the schools of Natural Sciences and Engineering, now holds the Presidential Endowed Chair. Chancellor Steve Kang appointed Winston to the chair in recognition of his pioneering work in solar energy and solar collectors in a three-year appointment retroactive to July 1, 2006.

“The purpose of this chair is to encourage new, interdisciplinary program development or to enhance the quality in existing academic programs,” Kang said in Winston’s award letter. “Your appointment to this endowed chair is a special honor... I am pleased to recognize your valuable contributions to our campus and congratulate you on this prestigious appointment.”

General Motors Gift Supports Professor’s Intelligent Vehicle Control Research

Stefano Carpin



Professor Stefano Carpin of the School of Engineering has received a $23,000 gift from General Motors Research and Development to help support research on stochastic analysis of distributed architecture systems.

“This is a perfect match,” Carpin said of the collaboration between GM and UC Merced.

According to Carpin, GM first approached him last December after establishing a research office in the Bay Area. GM was looking to collaborate with nearby universities to complement its long-term collaboration with UC Berkeley. Carpin said UC Merced is fortunate to be close enough to work with high-tech companies based in the Bay Area and other leading research universities.

“Today’s cars embed many processors, similar to those found in our computers, though less powerful,” Carpin said. “These processors exchange many messages while the car is running.”

Carpin will use the money to fund an exploratory project aimed to better characterize how messages are exchanged between car processors, with a special emphasis on timing issues. He anticipates it will lead to further collaborations in the area of intelligent vehicles control.

“In the future, cars will be endowed with more ‘intelligent components’ and sensors, similar to those routinely used in autonomous robots,” said Carpin, a robotics researcher who joined the UC Merced faculty in January.

Carpin teaches a robot algorithms class at the graduate level that exposes UC Merced students to state-of-the-art solutions to critical problems in autonomous robotics and an introductory class in mobile robotics.

Carpin’s graduate student, Andreas Kolling, has extensive background in the robotics field and is handling a large portion of the project.



Student Thankful for Life, Liberty, Education

Bernardo Zepeda



At 22 years old, Bernardo Zepeda took the long way to UC Merced. But for the bioengineering major who transferred this fall from Merced College, the journey has been as valuable as the destination.

Zepeda’s story of how he arrived at UC Merced is one that almost wasn’t. Immigrating here illegally with his family from Sinaloa, Mexico, when he was 6, Zepeda didn’t think college was an option.

“I saw an endless amount of possibilities in front of me that weren’t accessible, because I wasn’t a legal resident,” he said. “It’s hard because on one hand you’re grateful for the opportunities you have just being in this country, but on the other, there is so much more that’s out of reach.” [More]



PG&E Boosts Engineering With Million-plus Gift

PG&E donor presentation

PG&E executives presented a donation worth more than $1 million that included two natural-gas-powered Honda Civics that will be added to the UC Merced fleet


Senior executives from Pacific Gas and Electric Corp. visited UC Merced Nov. 28 and left behind a few important things – a sign on an engineering service learning laboratory, two natural-gas-powered cars and a million-dollar check – as a legacy beginning at the newest campus in the UC system. The far-reaching gift from PG&E will support student recruitment and retention programs in UC Merced’s School of Engineering.

“The world needs engineers who are prepared to make a difference. UC Merced is committed to educating those engineers, and the support of PG&E greatly enhances our ability to do so,” said Chancellor Steve Kang. [More]

Remembering Jim Edmonson

Jim Edmonson, one of UC Merced’s long-time supporters, passed away last month at 90.  Jim and his wife Lucile (Lu) founded the Challenger Learning Center in Atwater and were early and active proponents of bringing a UC to Merced. Jim was dedicated to improving the community. He was a founding member of the North Merced Rotary, a former teacher and administrator and a retired member of the US Army Air Corps. Lu served as a trustee of the UC Merced Foundation from 2002-03 and Jim attended at board meetings as a committed Diplomat.




Wednesday, February 13, 2008

UC Merced Foundation
Board of Trustees Meeting

at the
UC Merced Fresno Center
550 E. Shaw Ave., Ste. 212, Fresno

More information will follow in your mailing packet and will be posted at trustees.ucmerced.edu. Contact Shannon Blackwood at (209) 228-4401 or via e-mail sblackwood@ucmerced.edu for login information.

New Trustees on UC Merced Foundation Board

The UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to welcome four new members.

Over the years, Phyllis Jane Nusz has donated her time to international projects in Afghanistan, Uganda, Romania, Mexico, Philippines and Honduras. Her local efforts have included spearheading the Stockton Children’s Museum Library and stage, the Delta Island Elementary School Library and the Tuolumne County bookmobile. She was the first woman governor for Rotary’s District 5220, which serves California’s Central Valley, and she currently serves as Major Donor Advisor for Zone 24 of the Rotary Foundation. Nusz is founder and owner of PJ Enterprises located in Stockton.

Sam Taylor is the director for international recruitment for Illinois Institute of Technology, where he provides outreach to prospective students and alumni, particularly in Latin America. Taylor is a retired chief operating officer of Junior Achievement (JA) International and a former member of the U.S. Foreign Service. He has extensive experience in working with top high school and college students around the world as well as government agencies, schools, business leaders, media and government officials.

A native of the San Joaquin Valley, Coke Hallowell is a board member and president of the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, which she helped found in 1988. She is a founding member of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy and is the inspiration for the Coke Hallowell Center for River Studies on Old Friant Road. Hallowell is a board member of the State Center Community College District, and currently serves on the Planning and Conservation League, Resource Legacy Fund/ Foundation and California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. She taught in the Clovis and Sanger school districts for 12 years.

Prior to starting his law practice in Merced in 1979, Cyril Lawrence worked as a tax attorney for the Internal Revenue Service in San Francisco. While working for the IRS, he also taught tax at the University of San Francisco School of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law, Lincoln University Law School and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Lawrence has been an avid UC Merced supporter and a Chancellor’s Associates member since 2005. He is a member of the Stanislaus Estate Planning Council, Society of California Accountants and California Bar Association and served as past president for the San Francisco Federal Safety Council, Merced County Estate Planning Council, Merced County Bar Association, Merced Rotary Club and the Merced County Law Library Board of Trustees.



Chancellor's Associates Members Enjoy Festive Reception

Click to view more photos of Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception!

Chancellor’s Associates members enjoyed an evening of hors d’oeuvres, a private port tasting and holiday cheer at the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception Friday, Dec. 7. View more photos


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.

We welcome back renewing members Edith Nahas and Tony Laverdure, Nancy Holmes, Kathleen Childress and Jesse Brown, Lisa and Tim Dylina, Hugh and Connie Codding, Robert and Bette Gaestel, Richard and Alice Escola, Tim and Marilyn O’Neill, Michael and Lori Gallo, Joel and Elizabeth Wallace, Rose Eager Sabo and Joe Sabo, John and Susan Sulley, Kenneth and Betty Jean Robbins, Hugh and Norma Flanagan, Paul and Kathleen Zizza, Randy and Patricia Grossman, Art and Fafa Kamangar, Ivan and Bonnie Stinson, Ray and Joan Dezember, Al and Lynda Osborn, Larry Blazina and Doris Gonella, Lee and Marie-Alyce Kolligian, Karen Bizzini, Christian and Lucy Gallery, Sally Landels, Robert and Mary Avalle, Samuel and Dena Traina, John and Colleen Garamendi and new members Victor and Doralie Mitre.

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



First Alumnus Lectures on Extreme Deep-ocean Life

Daniel Santillano

Daniel Santillano presents his current research to a group of students, faculty and staff.


The UC Merced Alumni Association hosted its first Alumni Talk on Dec. 10 when Daniel Santillano (MS,’06) returned to present his current research. As a doctoral candidate at the Max Planck Institute in Bremen, Germany, Santillano explores patterns of biological communities in deep-sea systems like the Gulf of Mexico and New Zealand sediments using molecular tools. During his lecture, Santillano uncovered the mysteries of Earth’s largest and least-known ecosystem thousands of meters below the surface of the sea.

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



Online Press Offers Voice to Latino/a Authors

UC Merced has expanded its offerings of online publications with the recent debut of AlternaCtive PublicaCtions. Dedicated to providing an online home for previously unpublished creative works written primarily by Latino and Latina authors, AlternaCtive PublicaCtions is the brainchild of UC Merced’s Manuel M. Martín-Rodríguez. A professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, Martin-Rodríguez specializes in Hispanic culture and literature.

“My goal as publisher is to provide an outlet for innovative literature that may not be considered marketable by established presses,” Martín-Rodríguez said. Martín-Rodríguez’s other goal is to encourage public participation, by allowing and archiving reader responses for possible use by researchers.

AlternaCtive PublicaCtions will feature an author and his or her works for about three months, giving ample opportunity for readers to digest what is published and publicly offer feedback on it. AlternaCtive PublicaCtions will not assume copyright over published works. The press also hopes to become a venue for facilitating future book deals, and Martín-Rodríguez is confident that some of the works featured will be of interest to regular publishers elsewhere.

“AlternaCtive PublicaCtions is to literature what galleries are to art,” he said. “It’s a public space for the temporary display of creative works to facilitate interaction with all who view them.”



California Women for Agriculture Lecture- Jan. 11

UC Merced's Division of University Relations and California Women for Agriculture will co-host a discussion on water, climate and soil issues at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11 in the Dr. Lakireddy Auditorium on campus. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at (209) 228-RSVP or contact Shannon Rogina for more information.

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

Dec. 22- Jan. 1: Christmas/New Year’s Holiday (UC Merced closed)



• Total amount of proposals this month: $19,179,806
• Total amount of awards this month:  $2,060,473
• Total amount of awards from July 1, 2007 to November 30, 2007: $7,918,364


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