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Private Giving to UC Merced Builds Momentum in 2001-02

November 14, 2002
Gifts and Grants to New Campus Exceed $22 Million for Fiscal Year

ATWATER, CA — The University of California, Merced experienced a remarkable demonstration of private support during 2001-02, receiving more than $22 million in gifts and grants to further development of the 10th UC campus. This figure represents a 440 percent increase in private giving from the previous year and critical funding for the first UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley.

“For UC Merced to receive this level of giving from individuals, private industry and foundations before the main campus opens is extraordinary and overwhelming,” said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. “The generosity of supporters of UC Merced and the San Joaquin Valley speaks to their strong desire to help make this campus a reality. In return, we are committed to building a premiere research university for the 21st century, creating new knowledge in areas of critical importance and providing our students with an educational experience of the highest quality.”

Led by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation exceeding $12 million, this record year attracted commitments to fund scholarships, capital projects, library resources and four endowed chairs, increasing the total to13 endowed chairs by the end of the fiscal year. The award from the prestigious Packard Foundation has permitted acquisition of lands and habitat to develop the UC Merced campus, a natural reserve on campus and a preserve to protect sensitive vernal pool habitat, as well as funding for a scholarship endowment to benefit San Joaquin Valley students.

The Modesto-based E&J Gallo Winery tops the list of corporate benefactors, with a $5 million founding gift for a school of management to be named in honor of company founders Ernest and Julio Gallo. The school will focus on cutting-edge business research and establish extensive global linkages with leading corporations in a variety of industries.

Another leading corporate donor, the Wells Fargo Foundation, has established a $1 million scholarship fund for San Joaquin Valley students enrolling at UC Merced. The fund will be divided between entering freshmen and students transferring from community colleges. SBC Pacific Bell also has created a scholarship fund to benefit high-achieving engineering students.

Several individuals and families have made generous donations to begin scholarship funds for future UC Merced students as well.

Providing major support for on-campus facilities, Joseph Edward Gallo has donated $2 million for a recreation and wellness facility to bear his name. The founder of Joseph Farms in Merced County, he is considered a pioneer in California's thriving cheese industry.

Members of the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees continue to make considerable contributions to campus development, which in the 2001-02 fiscal year included funding of two endowed chairs at the $500,000 level. Trustee Tony Coelho, a former U.S. Congressman, committed an endowed chair in public policy and Trustee Krishna Thondapu, M.D., and his family funded an endowed chair as well. The Thondapu family of Merced also hosted a fund-raising event to support special collections for the campus library. Trustee Anthony Allegretti and his business partner Robert Schmitz, owners of the local Merced Sun-Star newspaper, donated a chair in mass communications. An additional endowed chair, a Presidential Chair with an academic focus to be determined at the UC Merced Chancellor's discretion, was committed by the UC Office of the President.

Endowed chairs and professorships at UC Merced will facilitate the hiring and retention of outstanding faculty, who will ensure excellence in teaching and research. Income generated by the endowments provides a continuing income flow to fund the research of faculty members appointed to fill these positions.

With the guidance of several Trustees, volunteer supporters of UC Merced have formed the Chancellor's Associates, a group dedicated to raising discretionary funds for the Chancellor to apply toward critical projects not eligible for state funding. Sixty members had joined the organization by fiscal year's end, with a total of 120 members at the start of November 2002, each committing to a $1,000-per-year, tax-deductible contribution.

UC Merced, the first American research university to be built in the 21st century, currently employs more than 100 educators and professionals and will grow to serve 25,000 students over the coming decades. Expected to open in fall 2004, the campus held its official groundbreaking on October 25, 2002. In addition to campus, UC Merced will use digital technology to create an educational network that serves students and communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley. The University currently operates educational centers in Bakersfield, Fresno, and Merced, with a fourth center planned for Modesto.