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UC Merced Receives Federal Funding to Boost Research

February 14, 2003

MERCED, CA — The University of California, Merced celebrated today's announcement of a federal appropriations bill that totals $500,000 for the newest UC campus, located in the San Joaquin Valley. The funding is targeted toward equipment purchases in the Divisions of Science and Engineering and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute.

“For UC Merced to receive this federal funding is extraordinary, and we're grateful for the efforts of Congressman Cardoza and his staff in making the University one of his first legislative priorities,” said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. “In return, we are committed to building a premiere research university for the 21st century, creating new knowledge in areas of critical importance and providing our students with an educational experience of the highest quality.”

UC Merced, which is the 10th campus of the prestigious UC system, is expected to open in fall 2004 with an initial 1,000 students. The campus will over time grow to be a vibrant, comprehensive research university for 25,000 students and approximately 6,000 faculty and staff.

As indicated by Dean of Engineering Jeff Wright, the purchase of cross-disciplinary research equipment will meet the needs of all the University's divisions and institutes.

The Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), one of the core institutes of the campus, will draw in the natural sciences, engineering and policy sciences to carry out research on the critical issues that affect humankind's ability to live in an environmentally sustainable way.

“The funding will enable the Institute to further address issues of the sustainable use and preservation of our air, water, land and biological resources in the San Joaquin Valley and the greater Sierra Nevada region,” said Sam Traina, founding Director of SNRI.

Traina is working closely with Dean Wright and Dean of Natural Sciences Maria Pallavicini in the recruitment of faculty who will hold appointments in the academic divisions and who will have affiliations with the University's research institutes.

“This funding in research equipment will support the University in its recruitment of outstanding faculty throughout our academic divisions,” said Pallavicini.

As a long-time supporter and advocate for the UC Merced project, Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Atwater) was very pleased that Congress passed the FY 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, with funding for the University as part of the package. The bill marks the first formal request that he has submitted as a freshman member of Congress.

“I entered the California Legislature fighting for UC Merced and I am taking that same approach in Congress,” said Cardoza. “I will fight for funding every year until we build the world-class facility that children in the Valley deserve.”

The appropriations bill, passed by both the Senate and the House, now goes to the President for signature and approval.

UC Merced currently employs more than 100 educators and professionals and will welcome its first 1,000 students in fall 2004. The University will serve students in three ways that complement the changing needs of today's society: 1) a residential campus serving 25,000 students when complete; 2) educational centers throughout the San Joaquin Valley; and 3) cooperative agreements with the California Community College system.