His term doesn’t start until March 1, but as soon as Chancellor-designate Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang found out he had the job, he asked UC President Robert Dynes if he could start work the next day.
In mid-January, Chancellor Kang paid his first official visit to the campus, meeting faculty, staff and students over two days.
He joined student leaders in a private session, where Associated Students President Josh Franco and other student leaders talked with Chancellor Kang about UC Merced’s challenges, its future and how students and the chancellor can work together.
“I think the students responded really well to him,” Franco said. “He communicates very effectively. He’s very inspiring, because of his background and experiences. He has a great appreciation for what he’s being given - the chance to build a university.”
The new chancellor said he looked forward to meeting pioneer students, and Wednesday he shared lunch with some who were eager to talk about their experiences here and ask him questions.
“I want to thank them for their trust in the campus and the UC system as a whole,” the new chancellor said. “The university is here because of them - they are very important people in my view.”
Chancellor Kang’s lunch companions wanted to know about his goals for the new university, and Chancellor Kang, who continues to lead the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz until he starts work here, said he plans to spend the first part of his term getting to know the campus community and the surrounding area to better understand all the hopes and expectations for UC Merced.
Chancellor Kang also said that as a first-generation student himself, he can relate. Almost half of UC Merced’s students say they are the first in their families to attend college.
Chancellor Kang came to the United States from South Korea on a scholarship in 1969. The chancellor-designate said his priorities include furthering plans for the medical school; strengthening partnerships with community members; increasing already strong support for UC Merced; and continuing to recruit the same top-caliber staff, faculty and students that make up the campus community.
People have asked him how he could leave Santa Cruz to come to Merced, but Chancellor Kang’s answer is simple: “How could I not? This is one of the greatest opportunities I could have imagined.”
For more information about Chancellor Kang, please visit his Web site: