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UC Merced Opens Expanded Dining Facility

August 28, 2008

Gift helps support new dining terrace and herb garden

Housing ExpansionMERCED - The extraordinary
growth and popularity of the University of California, Merced, in
the last three years is accompanied by an increased demand for
on-campus housing and support services. Just in time for the new
academic year, UC Merced has opened its newly expanded dining facility.

The Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center has become a campus icon,
building a sense of community where students, faculty, staff and
community members can connect while sharing a meal together. As one
of the social hubs of the UC Merced campus, the dining center needs
to expand to accommodate the growing university population, said
Jane Lawrence, vice chancellor for student affairs. That growth
includes more seating, a larger kitchen, more food options and a
private dining room for events.

“Thanks to the Wallace family, the expanded dining center will
further enhance the student experience by providing more dining
options, and will build upon the living-learning community we are
creating here at UC Merced,” Lawrence said.

Thanks to a second gift from donors Joel and Elizabeth
Wallace, the dining expansion includes a landscaped terrace that
features a culinary herb garden with the dual purpose of educating
students while providing dining center chefs with organic
ingredients such as rosemary, lavender, basil, thyme and mint.
Naming of the Elizabeth and Joel Wallace Terrace and Elizabeth’s
Garden reflects the couple’s deep commitment to education and a
positive student experience.

“We felt the dining terrace and herb garden were a natural
complement to the dining center. It will be a nice place for
students,” Elizabeth Wallace said. “Many students haven’t
experienced growing their own food. The garden will allow them to
learn about wholesome, organic foods that will be used right in the
dining center kitchen.”

Nearly every plant in Elizabeth’s Garden will be edible, from
the climbing roses that will decorate the back wall to the kumquats
that will adorn the terrace.

In addition to an enhanced facility and more healthy dining
options, students arriving this fall have noticed a few other
changes. Rather than the disposable containers and flatware made
from recycled materials used in years past, diners are served on
melamine dishes and use plastic drinkware and metal flatware that
encourages dining in. Only takeout orders will be served on
eco-friendly recyclable containers.

“It’s the goal of the dining center to have the food be
attractive and nutritious so that diners feel right at home,”
Lawrence said.