A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Campus Commemorates First 10 Years

September 8, 2015


UC Merced celebrated 10 years of excellence as faculty and staff members, students, friends of the university and the Merced community observed the anniversary of the campus’s opening.

Many have remarked how quickly time has passed since UC Merced welcomed its first class of undergraduate students on Sept. 5, 2005, and how much progress the campus has made since then. The university marked the milestone with a video retrospective, a 5K run and stories about the campus’s past and future.

Video, Magazine Feature Reminiscences

The celebration started last Friday with the debut of a video produced by University Communications that took viewers on a nostalgic look back at the campus’s beginnings and the effort it took to bring a research university to the historically underserved San Joaquin Valley.

The same day, the special anniversary issue of UC Merced Magazine was released. “Celebrating a Decade of Excellence” contains a variety of stories including a profile of founding faculty member Christopher Viney, a piece on the new Venture Lab located in downtown Merced, the growing emphasis on human health sciences and more.

In the well-received video (above), founding faculty members, alumni from the inaugural Class of 2009, graduate students and others shared their memories and experiences. As of Tuesday (Sept. 8), the video had been shared by 546 people on Facebook, resulting in almost 2,500 cumulative likes and 200 comments.

Comments to the UC Merced Facebook page were largely positive, with various members of the campus community chiming in to share their fond memories and sentiments.

Suzanne Kulhanek Hock, whose son just started his UC Merced journey this year, posted “Every single contact ANY of us has had with UC Merced Staff has been absolutely WONDERFUL! He is loving the campus community and we have every confidence he will get a top-notch education and have many life-long friends! Bobcat stickers and license plate frames on ALL family vehicles!!!”

5K Event Raises Scholarship Money

The Alumni Association and Department of Athletics and Recreation celebrated the anniversary by partnering to host the first UC Merced Journey 5K Fund Run on Saturday. More than 230 people registered for the run/walk to raise money for scholarships. The event started on Scholars Lane and took participants along the Lake Road pathway to Canella Road and back to campus, Director of Alumni Relations Chris Abrescy said.

“Collectively, with the support of our matching donors, Foster Poultry Farms and Wells Fargo, we raised more than $12,500 in undergraduate scholarships for UC Merced students,” Abrescy said. “We hope this marks the beginning of a new UC Merced tradition for years to come.”

Photos from the run are posted on the UC Merced Journey 5K Facebook page and the UC Merced Giving website.

Chancellor Pens Op-Ed Column

The 10-year anniversary and the campus’s promising future also were featured in print and electronic media.

Chancellor Dorothy Leland wrote a column that appeared in the opinion section of the Merced Sun-Star and The Modesto Bee. In it, the chancellor highlighted UC Merced’s progress despite economic challenges.

“The decision to locate a new campus in the fastest-growing but least-developed region of the state was both deliberate and inspired,” Leland wrote. “University and state officials alike recognized that a new campus would provide a much-needed boost to a region plagued for decades by high levels of poverty, unemployment and chronic health problems — along with low levels of educational attainment and economic growth.

“Unlike many startups that failed during the recent deep and prolonged recession, UC Merced continued to open its doors to increasing numbers of students.”

The anniversary occurred as the campus prepares to enter its next stage of development to add new facilities to accommodate 10,000 students by 2020. The 2020 Project — the campus’s fast-track expansion plan — is under review by the UC Board of Regents. The regents will hear an update about the project during a meeting next week and are expected to vote on the proposal in November.