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UC Merced IT Projects Chosen for Computerworld Honors Program

May 17, 2006

MERCED - The University of California, Merced, has been selected
as a 2006 Laureate in the Computerworld Honors Program based on the
identity-based service architecture the Information Technology
department developed for the new campus. The honors program, based
in Washington, D.C., is associated with Computerworld magazine and
honors leaders in information technology from around the world.

“Being part of the Computerworld Honors Program is a highly
appreciated recognition,” said UC Merced Chief Information Officer
Rich Kogut. “It validates the extent of our accomplishments and
celebrates a staff that has performed miracles.”

Kogut will attend the Laureates Medal Ceremony in Washington on
June 5, representing IT staff members Faust Gorham, Brian
Koehmstedt, Enrique Flores, Greg Fellin and others who implemented
the identity-based architecture.

“We have taken leading-edge technologies that have been on the
periphery at many installations and cast them as fundamental
cornerstones of our technology infrastructure,” said Kogut. “We
have also purposefully separated UC Merced-specific core
functionality that support our business rules out from the general
infrastructure and applications and services that users interact
with, deploying standards-based solutions for those user services,
in order to provide maximum flexibility for users now and in the
future.” This approach allows students, faculty and staff from
different disciplines and different institutional backgrounds to
meet their different working needs using the specific tools they need.

“Starting from scratch, we had the opportunity to adopt identity
management and portal technologies in ways that other universities
have not,” Kogut said. “We’ve implemented our identity management
system so that a person needs to remember only one login and
password, even if he or she begins as an applicant, then progresses
to become a student, an alumnus, an employee or even a faculty
member at UC Merced someday.” In addition to being more convenient
for users, the system enhances security - if users don’t need to
remember more than one password, they can choose a stronger, more
complicated password that will be more difficult to access for
unauthorized people.

The university has assigned distinct roles for its portal and
Web site from the beginning, allowing each to be customized for its
own goals. The UC Merced home page ( is
primarily a marketing tool for future students, faculty and staff.

The portal, which is universal for all UC Merced users,
interfaces with the identity management system to customize its
display for different users, helping them find the resources they
need most from one convenient location, including integrating
access to centralized payroll and digital library resources.

UC Merced’s “Cat Card,” or campus ID card, is a physical
manifestation of the identity management system. Rather than having
to integrate ID cards and computer services after the fact, UC
Merced’s card system has been driven from the computer services
systems from the beginning. It is used as a debit card, a library
card, and ID card and an electronic door key. The Cat Card is even
linked to the laundry system in on-campus housing, allowing users
to check online to see when their laundry is done.

Another important requirement for this entire system was a high
level of automation. This helps the IT department conserve
financial and personnel resources to focus on more innovative
problem solving for the future as UC Merced grows to serve
approximately 25,000 students over the next 30 years.

UC Merced IT staffers have also consciously chosen
open-standards solutions in order to avoid vendor lock-in and
maintaining a competitive playing field. This also benefits users,
who can choose their favorite browsers and e-mail clients.

UC Merced was nominated for the program by Extreme Networks, a
vendor with whom the IT department worked on the service
architecture. Fellow Laureates in the “Education and Academia”
category this year include the Columbia University School of
Nursing, the Duke University Health System, Florida State
University, George Washington University, UC Berkeley, and the
University of Pittsburgh. Of regional interest, the Clovis Unified
School District is also a Laureate this year.

Established in 1988, The Computerworld Honors Program is
dedicated to a singular and ongoing mission: “A Search for New
Heroes.” This search annually identifies and records the
accomplishments of the men and women, organizations and
institutions that are leading the world’s ongoing IT revolution.