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Great Valley Center and UC Merced Announce Strategic Partnership

November 18, 2005

Effort aims to leverage strengths of both institutions to
improve the Central Valley

The Great Valley Center and the University of California, Merced
announced a partnership on Nov. 17, 2005 that combines the networks
and connections of one of the Central Valley’s leading regional
organizations with the world-class research capacity and
intellectual resources of the state’s newest University of
California campus.

“This partnership is a natural extension of the Great Valley
Center’s ongoing commitment to ensure a sustainable future for
California’s Great Central Valley from Redding to Bakersfield,”
said Carol Whiteside, President of the Modesto-based Great Valley
Center. “The Great Valley Center’s ongoing work will be energized
by collaborative opportunities with top scholars throughout the university.”

As the partnership evolves, the nonprofit Great Valley Center
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
on issues such as Highway 99 and the recently formed California
Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. The Great Valley Center’s
network of community leaders, nonprofit organizations and
businesses will partner with UC Merced faculty to take advantage of
the University’s research. The evolution of the Great Valley Center
will include a greater and more in-depth focus on academic research
that applies to the critical needs facing the Central Valley.

UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, who has guided
development of the new campus since 1999, stated that the
partnership builds on the strengths of both institutions. “UC
Merced shares many of the same hopes and aspirations for the
Central Valley as the Great Valley Center. By working together to
improve the region’s economy and educational attainment, we hope to
help the people of California’s fastest-growing region make
positive, long-term public policy choices. Our faculty will use the
expanded research mission of the Center as an opportunity to
involve talented and motivated students in solving the most
important problems facing our community.”

Currently accepting applications for undergraduate and graduate
student admission in Fall 2006, UC Merced is already expanding
access to higher education for students throughout California. The
first new UC campus to open in 40 years, UC Merced is bringing the
University of California’s historic commitment to excellence in
teaching, research and public service to the San Joaquin Valley.

The Great Valley Center is a nonprofit organization that
supports organizations and activities that promote the economic,
social and environmental well-being of California’s Central Valley.
Since its founding in 1997, more than 600 elected officials, young
people and community leaders have participated in the Great Valley
Center’s leadership and mentorship programs and more than 10,000
have attended its regional conferences and forums.

The Center will continue to raise funds to support its work. The
James Irvine Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation have pledged significant transitional support as the
Great Valley Center begins working with the University.