UC Merced Grand Opening Set for September 5

Top UC Officials to Welcome
Inaugural Class of 1,000 in Special Convocation Ceremony

First New University of California Campus in 40 Years
Is 10th in UC System - and First in San Joaquin Valley

MERCED, CA - The University of California, Merced - the first new University of California campus since 1965 and the first ever in California's sprawling San Joaquin Valley - will officially open its doors September 5 in a Grand Opening ceremony featuring senior university officials, members of the UC Board of Regents and the inaugural class of 1,000 students.

"We couldn't be more excited," said Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, who was named chancellor of UC Merced in 1999 and has spearheaded its development ever since. "Our faculty is in place, student housing is ready, essential services are rapidly coming on line and the welcome mat is out. This is a very special moment for everyone involved in bringing this new campus to life."

UC Merced is the 10th campus in the University of California system, recognized globally as one of the world's leading public university systems. Based on projections of rapid population growth throughout the state, UC Regents first proposed adding a 10th campus to the system in 1988. Merced was chosen as the site in 1995 after a rigorous screening process that included more than 80 different locations.

"This new campus will allow California to fulfill the promise of access to qualified students from all over the state, as our first class clearly illustrates," said Tomlinson-Keasey. "A thriving research university will create a new level of opportunity for UC-eligible men and women for generations to come while stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, spawning new industries and addressing tough societal challenges."

UC Merced's first 1,000 students come from as far north as California's most northern county of Del Norte, as far south as San Diego, as far east as the Sierra Nevada and as far west as the Pacific Coast, according to university admission records. About half are the first in their families to attend college. Nearly 25 percent report annual family incomes below $30,000, and approximately one-third are from underrepresented ethnic or racial minority groups. All met the University of California's rigorous admission requirements.

"We're delighted with the academic credentials, diverse backgrounds and pioneering spirit of our inaugural class," said Tomlinson-Keasey. "These young scholars, including 38 graduate students, will play a major role in shaping the campus lifestyle, founding student organizations and defining the character of a major research university. They'll work closely with our world-class faculty and benefit from academic programming that is focused on real-world challenges of the 21st century. We're thrilled to have this chance to deliver UC-quality academics in a new and welcoming environment that will inspire and produce the leaders of tomorrow."

UC Merced will grow rapidly over the coming years, with total enrollment expected to reach about 5,000 by 2010 and top out at 25,000 in 2035. The university initially will offer undergraduate degrees in nine different majors from three disciplines - engineering; natural sciences; and social sciences, humanities and the arts. Graduate degrees in these same fields also are available. Degree offerings will expand rapidly as the university grows.

Opening ceremonies on September 5 will begin at 10 a.m. at the permanent campus site just south of Lake Yosemite, five miles from downtown Merced. The invitation-only event will include comments from Gerald Parsky, chair of the UC Board of Regents, UC President Robert Dynes and Chancellor Tomlinson-Keasey. Keynote remarks will be delivered by Merced native Charles Ogletree, professor and director of Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.

"Reaching this milestone required the commitment of multiple governors, UC presidents, and state and federal legislators," said Tomlinson-Keasey. "Celebrating this moment will be past Governors George Deukmejian and Gray Davis, past Presidents Richard Atkinson and David Gardner, as well as numerous elected officials who have supported us throughout the years."

The campus will open to the public in the afternoon as of 1 p.m. that day.

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