The 10th campus in the prestigious University of California  system, UC Merced is diverse , growing  and committed to those ideals that serve the state, nation and world through research , education  and public service.
UC Merced is the first new American research university built in the 21st century, with a mission  of research, teaching and service. The campus opened Sept. 5, 2005, in the San Joaquin Valley. The university is about an hour north of Fresno, two hours south of Sacramento, two hours southeast of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, and 90 minutes west of Yosemite National Park.
UC Merced offers a growing list of majors , minors  and graduate programs  taught by more than 140 full-time faculty  members, visiting professors and lecturers, who have come to us from some of the world's top-ranked universities.
As of fall 20 12 , UC Merced has nearly 5,800 undergraduate  and graduate  students. These students are some of the brightest in the state, and possess an entrepreneurial spirit and thirst for knowledge. Since 2005, our students have formed almost 200 clubs and organizations , written their own constitution and created a thriving governing body . In addition, our graduate and undergraduate students are conducting some of the most cutting-edge research  of our time, including stem cells , artificial intelligence  and renewable energy .
Just like at other UC campuses, academic research is a critical part of UC Merced's mission. The process of discovery provides our students with a deeper understanding of the world and its cultural, social, natural and engineered systems.
Special research institutes established at the university include:
In addition, startup funding has been received for the:
UC Merced has also entered into collaborative research partnerships with the:
In May 2011, the UC Board of Regents appointed Georgia College & State University President Dorothy Leland  as UC Merced's chancellor. She took office July 1, 2011, following the retirement of Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang. He took office March 1, 2007, following the retirement of Founding Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey , who died in 2009.
Like all University of California campuses, UC Merced operates under the direction of the UC president  and is governed by The Regents  of the University of California, a 26-member board established under the California Constitution.
UC Merced is the first new UC campus built since 1965. It was authorized by the California Legislature in 1988 to address the higher-education needs of the state's fastest-growing region — the San Joaquin Valley, with a population of 6.5 million residents — and increase access to the UC system for the state's top achievers.
UC Merced was established in the Valley partly to address chronically low levels of educational attainment in the region. Since the fall of 2004, the year before UC Merced opened, applications to UC campuses from Central Valley residents have increased 51 percent and admissions have risen 47 percent (as of 2009).
UC Merced strives to help improve the standard of education within the Valley through educational outreach centers in Bakersfield and Fresno. These centers offer:
UC Merced also contributes to the economic growth of Central California. In the San Joaquin Valley, where unemployment and poverty rates substantially exceed California averages, campus construction has supported thousands of jobs, stimulating new business development and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy each year. In addition:
UC Merced is the only U.S. university with every building on campus environmentally certified. As of December 2012, we have:
We are also pledged to a Triple Zero Commitment , an ambitious plan to consume zero net energy and produce zero landfill waste and zero net emissions on our campus by 2020. This means we will increase efficiency and renewable energy production, eliminate campus waste to landfills and prevent as many carbon emissions as we produce.
UC Merced focuses on many practices across campus that enhance its sustainability . Other initiatives include:
Also part of our green-campus goal is land conservation. University officials — through a special collaboration with the Packard Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and the state of California — have set aside 25,000 acres of grassland habitat for permanent conservation, 6,000 acres of which will be a vernal pool reserve .
Private support lies at the heart of our university's vital partnerships with the community. Our gracious donors  have continued to show support for UC Merced's mission by contributing funds to fill the gap where public funding ends. Between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, UC Merced received $3.9 million in private gifts and grants. This tremendous support ensures that our university has the opportunity to continue research efforts that enhance the lives of Californians for years to come.