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From the Chancellor

The University of California, Merced’s major accomplishments during the 2008-09 academic year affirm the outstanding quality and perseverance of the faculty, students and staff, as well as the superb support of our donors and Foundation Board of Trustees.

While the past year may be remembered most for the commencement of the inaugural class, featuring an inspiring keynote from First Lady Michelle Obama, UC Merced also:

  • Received $22.8 million in research awards in academic year 2008-09, approximately 39 percent more than received in 2007-08
  • More than tripled its alumni numbers
  • Experienced a 27 percent increase in Statements of Intent to Register for the Fall 2009 semester — at a time of freshman enrollment caps at our sister campuses

Research Focus

The core mission of our campus is research driven. Current research strengths cover an array of fields, most notably climate change, solar and renewable energy, water quality and resources, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and stem cell and cancer research. Examples of current research are studies on the role microbes play in plant reactions to climate change and the disturbance by humans of the natural soundscape at Yosemite National Park.

Sustainable Future

We continue to build a strong identity as the “greenest” campus in the nation with ambitious goals directing our energy usage, emissions and landfill waste.

  • This summer (2009), we are building a 1-megawatt solar photovoltaic array to produce power less costly than we can buy.
  • Two more campus buildings earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council for a total of six LEED Gold buildings and one LEED Silver building — and four more buildings are expected to achieve LEED Gold in the near future. No other university in the United States has earned LEED Silver or better for every building on campus.
  • Our plan for physical growth received the green light with:

Academic Progress

We have been granted candidacy by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and we continue to work toward fulfilling the stringent requirements for academic accreditation.

The next few years will be characterized by careful resource allocation. In light of the prevailing state of the economy, the campus community has developed initiatives to allow us to meet the challenges of severe state budget reductions.

We are grateful for the devoted group of supporters who believe that UC Merced is critical to the vitality of the San Joaquin Valley, the state and the nation. Together, we can continue to advance the university's mission and make great things happen at UC Merced.

Steve Kang, Chancellor