MERCED - The University of California, Merced, accomplishes a
lot through teaching and community service, but its primary
function is that of a research university. To help the community
understand what that means, UC Merced will start a new tradition
this spring - Research Day, when students and the general public
can explore what researchers on campus are studying and begin to
imagine the effects their discoveries might have. The first
Research Day on Monday, April 16 will also mark the first time a
Nobel laureate speaks on the new campus.
“Research Day is our way of opening up the campus so that people
can see what drives virtually all learning at UC Merced - the
research performed by our exceptional professors and other
researchers,” said Vice Chancellor for Research Sam Traina. Traina
is also dean of graduate studies and the director of the Sierra
Nevada Research Institute.
Crowning the day, the Vital and Alice Pellissier Family
Distinguished Speaker Series will bring its first guest to campus -
Nobel Prize-winning chemist Sherwood Rowland, who was honored in
1995 for his work in understanding the formation of Earth’s ozone
hole. Rowland is a founding faculty member from UC Irvine, so he’s
familiar with the benefits and challenges of a startup research
university like UC Merced. His talk at 4:00p.m. will be free and
open to the public.
The new distinguished speaker series is another important
tradition associated with Research Day. The Pellissier family,
longtime residents of Merced County, has funded the series with a
donation to UC Merced. The family recently sold the ranch on the
west side of Merced where grandparents Vital and Alice established
themselves and decided to use part of the proceeds to establish a
legacy at UC Merced.
“Because we are losing the physical location and buildings that
my grandparents left, we especially wanted to do something to
remember them by,” said Dennis Pellissier. “UC Merced presented the
idea of a distinguished speaker series, and we could see that it
was an immediate need and also an opportunity for the community,
including our family, to visit the campus.”
UC Merced plans for the Pellissier speaker series to continue
annually, in association with Research Day.
Research Day will also include a tour of designated laboratories
for members of the press in the morning and a student research
poster competition in the Lantern area on the first floor of the
Kolligian Library beginning at 10 a.m.. Cash prizes will be awarded
to the best undergraduate and graduate research posters for each of
UC Merced’s three academic schools - Natural Sciences; Engineering;
and Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.