Only one University of California campus can boast 100% participation in its alumni organization. All three of UC Merced’s first graduates have committed to participate in the UC Merced Alumni Association. They say that they are already looking forward to their five-year reunion in 2011 and other events sponsored by the UC Merced Alumni Affairs Office and the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network.
Eve Delfin and Kristi Imberi both transferred from Merced College in the fall of 2005 and earned bachelor’s degrees in Social and Cognitive Sciences. Daniel Santillano arrived in Merced with the first group of graduate students in the fall of 2004 and earned a master’s degree in Environmental Systems.
At the first-ever UC Merced commencement ceremony in May, the three graduates presented their class gift to the university, a 100-gallon aquarium for the Kolligian Library.
Fundraising help for the gift came from the San Joaquin Valley UC Alumni Network. Membership in the network is open to alumni with at least 12 units of credit from any UC campus. In addition to hosting educational and social events, the group provides an opportunity for alumni to associate with each other and the university, educates alumni regarding the university’s latest achievements and progress, involves alumni in the ongoing development of current and future students of the university and promotes the welfare and development of the university and of the UC Merced campus. Membership is free of charge.
The network has strongly supported UC Merced throughout its development and especially during its opening year. The group hosted two study breaks for students during finals weeks in the fall and spring, giving out snacks and other goodies to help students de-stress and prepare for their tests. They also assisted with Bobcat Day in the spring and the campus grand opening last September.
Alumni Coordinator Stefani Martinez said that current UC Merced students are also developing their own organization to prepare for joining the alumni association and to learn about philanthropy, an important role of any alumni group.