University of California, Merced

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University of California, Merced
The University of California 1868 Merced.svg
Motto Fiat lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Let there be light
Established 2005
Type Public research university
Endowment $35.8 million (2014)[1]
Chancellor Dorothy Leland[2]
Provost Tom Peterson[3]
Academic staff
264 [4]
Students 6,268 (Fall 2014)[5]
Undergraduates 5,884 (Fall 2014)[5]
Postgraduates 384 (Fall 2014)[5]
Location Merced, California, U.S.
37°21′58″N 120°25′25″W / 37.366°N 120.4235°W / 37.366; -120.4235Coordinates: 37°21′58″N 120°25′25″W / 37.366°N 120.4235°W / 37.366; -120.4235
Campus Rural, 810 acres (330 ha); 7,045 acres (2,851 ha) total [6]
Colors Royal blue & Gold[7]
Athletics NAIACal-Pac
Nickname Golden Bobcats
Mascot Bobcat
Affiliations University of California

The University of California, Merced (also referred to as UC Merced or UCM), is the tenth and newest of the University of California campuses. It is located in the San Joaquin Valley in unincorporated Merced County, California, near Merced. Established in 2005, UC Merced is the first American research university to be built in the 21st century.[8] Most UC Merced students are from California with enrollment nearly evenly divided between Southern California, the Central Valley, and Northern California.[9]

UC Merced claims to be the only institution in the United States to have all of its buildings on campus to be LEED certified. Its Triple Net Zero Commitment is expected to create zero net landfill waste and zero net greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020.[10][11]


As the San Joaquin Valley was the state's largest and most populous region without a UC campus, on May 19, 1988, the Regents of the University of California voted to begin planning for a campus in the region, in response to increasing enrollment and growth constraints at existing UC campuses.[12] On May 19, 1995, the Regents selected the heart of the Central Valley at the Merced site, mid-way between Fresno and Modesto, as the location for the University of California's tenth campus.[13] An $11 Million Packard Grant for 7,030 acres of land was donated by the Virginia Smith Trust, adjacent to Lake Yosemite, making it the largest acreage the University of California has acquired for one of its campuses. The university planned to conserve 5,030 acres from the sensitive vernal pool habitations.[14] A public golf course known as the Merced Hills Golf Course had been constructed at the site in the early 1990s. This course was shut down to make way for the new campus when the original site for the campus was made unavailable due to the discovery of fairy shrimp - an endangered species - on the originally proposed site. Since the construction of the golf course had negated concerns about wetland and vernal pool environment considerations it made building the campus on top of course easier than fighting to save the original construction site. Two small bridges on campus date from the time of the golf course.

UC Merced established a satellite campus in Bakersfield, California in 2001 in its downtown University Square. The satellite campus advocated a UC education to prospective college-bound students of Kern County and the southern San Joaquin Valley before UC Merced opened its official campus in Merced. Classes and counseling were also provided at the Bakersfield center to newly admitted UC students. In 2011, UC Merced closed its Bakersfield campus in a cost-cutting effort. An administrative building was then planned to be located in downtown Merced.[15][16]

The campus groundbreaking ceremony was held October 25, 2002, and the first day of class was September 6, 2005. Four years later, on May 16, 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama gave the commencement address for the university's first full graduating class.[17]

In 2010 the United States Census Bureau made UC Merced its own separate census-designated place.[18] Later that same year, the new student housing facilities, The Summits, opened to provide two additional residential halls for incoming students. The two, four-story buildings, Tenaya Hall and Cathedral Hall, are reserved primarily for incoming freshmen students. Three years later, UC Merced another housing facility, Half Dome, next to the existing Tenaya and Cathedral Halls. Half Dome houses both freshman and continuing students.[19]

In January 2015, UC Merced was nationally classified with the Carnegie Classification for community engagement, along with UC Davis and UCLA.[20]

In November 2015, the University of California regents approved a $1.14 billion proposal to double the size of UC Merced, boosting its enrollment by nearly 4,000 students. The new space is expected to be built by 2020. [21]

Organization and governance[edit]

Ansel Adams Road

UC Merced is headed by a chancellor. After a nationwide search, on May 24, 2011, the Regents of the University of California named Dorothy Leland, President of Georgia College & State University, to be the university's newest chancellor. Sung-Mo (Steve) Kang, Dean of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Baskin School of Engineering held the position immediately prior, from 2006 to 2011, and stepped down so he could return to research and teaching. Carol Tomlinson-Keasey held the position from 1999 until she resigned on August 31, 2006. She returned to teaching and research in psychology in 2007 and later died of breast cancer in 2009.[22] On September 21, 2006, the Regents named Roderic B. Park, a former interim chancellor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, as the acting chancellor for UC Merced.[23] Park remained acting chancellor until Kang took office in early March 2007.

The campus takes advantage of the surrounding environment by investigating issues relating to environmental systems of the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, and of its youth by having programs in genetic research conducted in state-of-the-art research labs. It also benefits from proximity to Silicon Valley and other major universities. Research in fields like language acquisition and cultural issues is facilitated by the highly diverse ethnic makeup of the Central Valley.

UC Merced operates on a semester system rather than the quarter system for its academic term. The Berkeley campus is the only other UC campus on a semester system.


Scholars Lane

UC Merced has 3 schools offering 21 undergraduate majors and 22 minors:[24][25]

  • School of Engineering
  • School of Natural Sciences
  • School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

The School of Medicine and School of Management are planned to be integrated on campus soon.[26]

The site for the Science and Engineering Building 2, opened in 2014, is the most recent new building on campus. The Classroom and Office Building 2 is scheduled to open in 2016.[27]

For graduate-level study, UC Merced Graduate Division offers programs in 11 emphases: Applied Mathematics, Biological Engineering and small-scale technologies, Cognitive and Information Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Environmental Systems, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Physics and Chemistry, Psychology, Quantitative and Systems Biology, Social and Cognitive Sciences, and world cultures.[28] The various programs within the Graduate Division have produced PhDs and Masters-level graduates. Some have found work in faculty positions at different colleges and universities, while others have chosen to enter government service.[29]

In 2011, the campus was granted accreditation by WASC.[30]

In 2014, the School of Engineering received an ABET accreditation for the Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering programs.[31]

Admissions and enrollment[edit]

First-Time Freshman Profile[32][33][34][35]
  2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Applicants 16,261 15,883 14,056 15,206 22,902
10,614 12,161 20,296
 % Admitted
GPA Average
SAT Composite
*SAT out of 2400

UC Merced received 16,261 undergraduate applications for admission for the Fall 2014 incoming freshman class; 9,780 were admitted (64.0%).[32]

Undergraduate enrollment in Fall 2014 was 50% women and 50% men; approximately 99% were from California.[36]

Research institutes[edit]

  • Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI)
  • Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI)
  • University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar)

In 2007, UC Merced researchers obtained nearly $7 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.[37] Grant funding for research has reached over $168.9 million in 2013.[26]


The "New Beginnings" sculpture on campus.

The campus is bounded by Lake Yosemite on one side, and two irrigation canals run through the campus. The campus master plan was developed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, its initial infrastructure by Arup, and its first buildings were designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Thomas Hacker and Associates, and EHDD Architecture. The library and central power plant have been classified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold structures in terms of their high energy efficiency and low environmental impact.[38] The campus is located about seven miles (11 km) north of downtown Merced in the middle of a cattle ranch.[39]

Rather than build on 40 acres (16 ha) of protected land east of Lake Yosemite, where endangered fairy shrimp hatch in vernal pools, the school has built on a 230-acre (93 ha) parcel of grazing land south of campus, under a revised layout. The revised plan covers a total of 810 acres (330 ha) rather than the original 910 acres (370 ha) proposed in 2000.[40] The new design was expected to impact a total of 81 acres (33 ha) of native wetlands in the region compared to the 121 acres (49 ha) forecast in the 2000 footprint.[41]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the University is a census-designated place (CDP)[18] that was uninhabited at the 2010 census[42] and covers an area of 1.126 square miles (2.916 km²), all of it land.

Kolligian Library[edit]

Kolligan Library

The library was the first building to open on campus. During the Fall 2005 semester, while construction of the Classroom and Science/Engineering buildings was still taking place, all academic courses were conducted in the library. Its official motto is "Not what other research libraries are, what they will be."

The Library building is named after Leo and Dottie Kolligian. Leo served as the Chairman of the UC Board of Regents in 1988 when the Board decided to explore building a 10th campus, in the San Joaquin Valley. The first floor of the library was dedicated by Ed and Jeanne Kashian. The McFadden-Willis Reading Room is located on the fourth floor and named in honor of the McFadden and Willis children by Christine McFadden. The Library also has a technology classroom dedicated by Doris Gonella in honor of her late husband Louis, The Gonella Discovery Room.

The library offers 10 public workstations for students, faculty, staff and visitors to access electronic resources. The library contains more electronic holdings than print holdings, consisting of about 70,000 online journals and 3,965,000 electronic books (including 3,150,000 HathiTrust full-text books), compared to 102,000 print books. In addition, the library provides access to 580 databases.[43]

Kolligian is a Green library and has Gold LEED certification.[44]


Logo of the UC Merced Bobcats

UC Merced's recently established an intercollegiate athletic program presently competes in the California Pacific Conference of the NAIA. It fields officially sponsored teams in men's and women's basketball, men and women's cross country, women's soccer and women's volleyball; men's soccer and men's volleyball will begin competition during the 2013-2014 season. UC Merced hopes to join the NCAA in the near future. The school's goal is to compete at the NCAA Division II level as part of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).

On November 13, 2006, the University opened its gymnasium. The Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center, named after the rancher and dairy farmer who donated money for the facility's construction, features a "NCAA-sized basketball court, workout facilities, room for performances, wellness and fitness education and the Rajender Reddy Student Health Center".[45] At the opening of the facility, In November 2010 the university announced its intentions to join the NAIA for the 2011-2012 academic year,[46] in the NAIA's California Pacific Conference.

Student life[edit]

Valley Terraces Dormitory
Valley Terraces

Approximately 2,100 students currently live on campus in the Valley and Sierra Terraces and the Summits, which includes Tenaya, and Cathedral Halls, 4.2 miles (6.8 km) away from the city of Merced. The most recent addition is Half Dome Hall which completed the University of California at Merced's first residential square. The Summits include cleaning services, study lounges, a market, and a game room. Student housing, as well as the dining commons, are closed during winter break.[47] Much of the student life in the Residence Halls is run by the Resident Assistants (RAs)and Lead Resident Assistants (LRAs) through various programs and activities.

Due to the United States housing bubble, and high costs of bond-funded student housing ($13,720 on-campus compared to $7,000 off campus), many students choose to live in new housing subdivisions and McMansions outside of campus. The Cattracks transit system serves student-dense developments.[47]

Ethnic Enrollment, Fall 2014[36]
Ethnicity Undergraduate Graduate
Black 6% 2%
Asian 25% 10%
White 14% 39%
Hispanic and Latino 46% 12%
Native American <1% 0%
Pacific Islander 1% 1%
Two or more races 4% 4%
Unreported/unknown 1% 3%
Nonresident Alien 4% 29%

The university's Campus Activities Board (CAB) engages students in campus-wide activities such as the annual Treats N' Beats, CAB Cinema, Enchanted Ball, and more. Past guests that have been brought to these campus activities by CAB include Sage the Gemini, J. Holiday, and George Lopez.[48]

Additionally, many students visit nearby Lake Yosemite which includes recreational swimming, fishing, and water skiing. Merced has several artistic venues which host plays, concerts, and art shows. These include The Mainzer Theater, The Partisan, Merced Multicultural Arts Center, and Playhouse Merced. Castle Air Museum is within close driving distance from Merced. Merced is known as the "Gateway to Yosemite" and it is common for students recreational use Yosemite National Park where they may hike, snowboard, rock climb, and camp overnight.

Student publications include The Prodigy],[49] student newspaper, Bobcat Radio,[50] student radio station, The Undergraduate Research Journal (URJ), The Undergraduate Historical Journal, and literary journals The Kumquat and Imagination Dead Imagine.

Student governments[edit]

The founding graduate students, who joined the Graduate School of UC Merced in early 2004, initiated the Graduate Student Association (GSA) in that year, before the university officially opened its doors to undergraduate students in the fall of 2005. The constitution and by-laws were prepared by them. They were then approved by all the graduate students.

The undergraduate students of UC Merced have initiated and established their own student government. The Committee on Constitution and By-Laws was established in fall 2005 and was responsible for writing the constitution for the Associated Students of UC Merced (ASUCM). Elections for the ratification of the constitution were held in April, 2006. The constitution was approved by a majority of the student body, officially establishing ASUCM, which serves as the official representative and voice of students.


There are approximately 200[51] student run clubs, including: The Prodigy,[52] Bobcat Radio,[53] Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Sports Shooting, Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE), Merced Pre-Law Society, Business Society, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), American Women Making A Difference, Black Student Union (BSU), Society of Women Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Math Society, Amnesty International, American Medical Student Association, Colleges Against Cancer,[54] Chinese Student Association, Circle K International, Hermanas Unidas de UCM, Korean American Coalition (KAC), Hmong Student Association (HSA), Nikkei Student Union (NSU), The UC Merced Historical Society, Dance Coalition, Distinguished Ladies, Student Transfer Outreach and Mentor Program, Democrats at UC Merced, Bobcat Band, HHM (Hip Hop Movement), Society of Freethinkers, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Martial Arts Club, Muslim Student Association, NORML, Persian Student Association of UC Merced (PSAUCM), Pilipino American Alliance (PAA), Anime Club, League of Legends Club at UC Merced (UCMLoL), College Republicans at UC Merced, South Asian Student Association, Taekwondo (TKD), Rotaract, UCM Symphonics Acapella Group (UCMSA), UNICEF at UC Merced rock climbing, Yosemite Leadership Program, bakery clubs, archery clubs, and frisbee golf clubs.

Greek life[edit]

North-American Interfraternity Conference Fraternities
International Fraternities
National Panhellenic Conference Women's Fraternities and Sororities
Latina-Based Sororities
Professional Co-ed Fraternities

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Annual Endowment Report, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2014; p.4" (PDF). Chief Investment Officer of the Regents of the University of California. 
  2. ^ "Dorothy Leland Named UC Merced Chancellor by Regents". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  3. ^ "New Provost Shares Vision for Campus". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  4. ^ "2011 Faculty Headcount" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  5. ^ a b c "UC Merced Campus Headcount Enrollment By Class Level" (PDF). UC Merced Institutional Planning & Analysis. 
  6. ^ "UC Financial Reports – Campus Facts in Brief" (PDF). University of California. 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Web Colors and Fonts | University Communications". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Fast Facts". UC Merced. November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Awards". UC Merced. 2015. 
  11. ^ Maxwell, Mark (November 2013). "UC Merced Earns 11th LEED Certification, 2nd Platinum". Facilities Net. 
  12. ^ Reinhold, Robert (November 26, 1988). "Battle for California Campus Waged Far From Urban Glow". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  13. ^ "UC Merced Planning - Project Overview". Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  14. ^ "University of California to Acquire Virginia Smith Trust Land and Augment Trust Endowment with $11 Million Packard Grant". University News. March 20, 2001. 
  15. ^ "UC Merced - Bakersfield Center Grand Opening". UC Merced University News. December 12, 2001. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "UC Merced pulling out of its downtown Bakersfield office". The Bakersfield California. July 5, 2011. 
  17. ^ William Douglas and Danielle Gains (May 16, 2009). "First lady tells grads to remember who helped them". Merced Sun-Star. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: University of California, Merced
  19. ^ "The Summits". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Campus Gains National Recognition for Community Engagement". University News. 2015-01-07. 
  21. ^ "UC regents approve major expansion at UC Merced". LA Times. 2015-11-19. 
  22. ^ McLellan, Dennis (October 13, 2009). "Carol Tomlinson-Keasey dies at 66; founding chancellor of UC Merced". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  23. ^ [2][dead link]
  24. ^ "Academics". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  25. ^ [3][dead link]
  26. ^ a b "Fast Facts". UC Merced. November 2014. 
  27. ^ [4] Archived January 18, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Academic Studies". 
  29. ^ See: (accessed 21 March 2012); (accessed 21 March 2012); (accessed 21 March 2012)
  30. ^ "University of California, Merced - WASC Senior College and University Commission". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  31. ^ "UCM Accreditation". 
  32. ^ a b "Undergraduate Admit and Yield Rates by Student Entering Level" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  33. ^ "First-Time Freshman High School GPA" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  34. ^ "First-Time Freshman Sat Scores" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  35. ^ CMS. "UC Merced Institutional Planning & Analysis ~ Student Statistics". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  36. ^ a b "UC Merced Profile" (PDF). UC Merced Institutional Planning & Analysis. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  37. ^ Doyle, Michael (October 13, 2007). "UC Merced leads research funds race". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  38. ^ Boehland, Jessica (January 2008). "Case study: University of California, Merced, Enlightening Sustainability: University research facility is a teaching tool for eco-minded students". GreenSource. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  39. ^ McKinley, Jesse (July 26, 2006). "California's Newest State University Is Short of Students". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  40. ^ Trombley, William; Irving, Carl (Winter 2001). "The Turbulent History of UC Merced. The University of California's proposed tenth campus encounters thorny environmental problems". National CrossTalk (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education) 9 (1). Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  41. ^ "UC Merced changes expansion plans to protect sensitive wetlands". Mercury News. October 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-15. [dead link]
  42. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  43. ^ "Library Facts". UC Merced Library. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  44. ^ "Leo & Dottie Kolligian Library Sign" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-27. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  45. ^ "U C Merced - Score! UC Merced Opens New Recreation Center, Launches Sports and Yosemite Leadership Programs". Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  46. ^ Oppenheim, Jamie (November 17, 2010). "UC Merced ready to launch intercollegiate sports -- almost". Merced Sun-Star. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  47. ^ a b "Homework and Jacuzzis as Dorms Move to McMansions in California". The New York Times. November 12, 2011. 
  48. ^ "Comedian George Lopez makes UC Merced students laugh". Merced Sun-Star. 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2015-09-22. 
  49. ^ "The Prodigy". The Prodigy. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  50. ^ "Bobcat Radio". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  51. ^ [5][dead link]
  52. ^ [6][dead link]
  53. ^ Name *. "Bobcat Radio". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  54. ^ "Colleges Against Cancer". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 

External links[edit]