A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Jane Lawrence, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

October 21, 2013

Our ninth fall semester started in a flurry as Half Dome — our new residence hall — opened, our largest class of freshmen (1,654) and new transfer students participated in UC Merced’s traditional Scholars Lane Bridge Crossing and the ASCEND conference and new classrooms opened in the Student Services Building.

With nearly 6,200 students enrolled —358 of whom are graduate students -- more than 2,000 students live on campus. There are new dining options, more classes than ever and two new intercollegiate athletic teams. The campus is bustling with activity!

Thanks to the many faculty and staff members who helped make the start of the semester go so smoothly. 

Thanks also to everyone who assisted with Preview Day and Family Weekend. We had our largest attendance ever for both and, as always, visitors, parents and families were impressed by the friendliness of our campus community and our genuine concern for our students’ success.

Work Begins on Amphitheater

As you walk along Scholars Lane, you have probably noticed the construction of the Wallace-Dutra Amphitheater.

We have been working on this project since 2009, when our inaugural graduating class proposed the creation of an outdoor theater down by Little Lake. Thanks to generous support from longtime campus supporters Elizabeth and Bud Wallace, and with assistance from the Student Fee Advisory Committee and the Division of Business and Administrative Services, the project began in mid-October in hopes of completion by early next year.

When finished, the amphitheater will provide accessible seating, lighted paths and a stage area large enough for small concerts, movies, plays, weddings and more. The Office of Student Life will manage the venue once it is open. 

Feeding the Hungry Among Us

Conversations across campus indicate we serve a large number of students who often skip meals to make ends meet.

Working with the Merced County Food Bank and USDA, we have organized a Food Pantry distribution to supply food the third Friday of every month to students, staff and community members who need assistance. Last month, more than 300 people benefited. If you’d like to assist with this effort, please contact Vernette Doty, associate director of the Office of Student Life, at vdoty@ucmerced.edu.

Continued Demand Expected

We are heading into the peak application-filing period for next fall’s new freshmen and transfer students.

Admissions staff members have been and will continue to travel the state presenting about UC Merced at high schools and community colleges. For this fall, we received more than 18,000 applications. Director of Admissions Encarnacion Ruiz and Associate Vice Chancellor J. Michael Thompson anticipate we will receive at least as many, if not more, applications for Fall 2014.

Health and Wellness Services Update

Finally, I want to welcome the new director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Pamela Deroian, who joined us just as classes started in August.

Our psychologists, along with our medical staff in the Health Center, have been very busy since classes started, and Pam’s more than 20 years of experience as a clinical psychologist at the University of Miami will be a great asset.

Speaking of Health Services, please don’t miss the opportunity to get your flu shot on campus. Shots are free for students and only $12 for faculty and staff members. Visit the Health Services website to view the schedule.

The weeks ahead will continue to be busy as students take midterms and prepare for finals, register for spring classes, attend athletic events (visit athletics.ucmerced.edu for schedules) and participate in more than 180 registered clubs and organizations on campus.

Go Bobcats!