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UC Merced Alumni Group Doubling in Size After 2008 Commencement

May 16, 2008

About 100 students at the University of California, Merced, will participate in the campus’ third annual commencement exercise at 10 a.m. May 23. That means the number of UC Merced alumni will more than double after this year’s class graduates.

More than half of the students participating in commencement – 57 of them – have already completed the requirements for graduation. The rest of the Class of 2008 will finish up either in August or December. Because UC Merced conducts only one commencement exercise each year, students are permitted to participate in May if they are on track for completing their graduation requirements later that same year. Similar practices are common at other institutions.

One of the participants has completed the requirements for a master’s degree, and one will be awarded UC Merced’s first-ever doctorate.

Ricardo Cisneros of Fresno has completed his dissertation about air quality in Valley and Sierra Nevada locations and has accepted a new position with his previous employer, the U.S. Forest Service, combining his previous experience in forest management with his newly recognized research abilities.

Syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr., a sought-after expert on ethnicity and national origin, will address the Class of 2008 at commencement.

Navarrette is a native of the Fresno/Sanger area. He writes for the editorial pages of the San Diego Union-Tribune and has appeared on numerous national news Web sites, television shows and radio shows as a commentator. He is the author of “A Darker Shade of Crimson: Odyssey of a Harvard Chicano.”

This year’s student speaker will be Sonia Salazar, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in literature. Salazar works in the Joseph E. Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center; was an orientation leader; served as a student government Senate member; and participated in the UCDC program interning in the Public Defenders Office last fall.

Commencement is open to graduating seniors and their invited guests.