UC Merced's New Chancellor Meets the Valley

Chancellor Steve Kang visiting several cities to learn more, strengthen ties

MERCED, CA— UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang will spend part of his first hundred days in office getting better acquainted with the region as he embarks on his San Joaquin Valley Listening Tour.

The tour kicks off March 19 in Merced, and the new chancellor, who takes office today (March 1), is firming plans to meet with education leaders, students, a variety of community groups, elected officials and journalists to further understand the issues and challenges facing the Valley.

He'll stop in numerous cities throughout the Valley so he can hear directly from them about their concerns and emphasize the relationships between them and UC Merced, whose three-part mission includes education, research and public service.

On his first official visit to campus in January, Kang set forth priorities including strengthening UC Merced's ties to the communities around it, cementing its place in the Valley and solidifying his vision for the future of the university.

"I'm thrilled to have this listening tour as one component of my transition into UC Merced leadership," Kang said. "I'm looking forward to gaining a better understanding of the larger community around the university and the unique challenges the population faces."

One of those issues is likely to be the college-going culture in the Valley, which historically has lagged behind most of the rest of the state. Kang is a first-generation college student himself and is committed to continuing UC Merced's mission to make sure as many students as possible have the ability and opportunity to access higher education.

He'll meet with students from area high schools and community colleges to get their perspective on higher education and how UC Merced can enhance its role as a partner in their futures.

Kang will also speak with members of area newspapers' editorial boards to reiterate UC Merced's commitment to the entire region, which helps foster support for the campus.

Locations and dates of scheduled visits:

Merced March 19
Modesto April 2
Fresno April 17
Bakersfield April 19
Coalinga/Lemoore April 23
Visalia April 26
Stockton May 3

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