January 12, 1998
By Mark Aydelotte
UC Office of the President
University of California President Richard C. Atkinson has selected UC Merced as the name for the university's proposed 10th campus. The campus is scheduled to open its doors to students in 2005.
Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, UC's vice provost for academic initiatives, made the formal announcement at a ceremony at the Merced County Courthouse Museum in December. The announcement came in the form of a letter from Atkinson to the UC Board of Regents.
The name of the new campus has remained uncertain for several years while the university conducted a site selection process in central California. During that time, UC officials assigned the campus the generic title "UC San Joaquin." In May 1995, the future campus site was chosen near Lake Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada foothills five miles northeast of Merced. But the name of the new campus was never resolved.
At a Board of Regents meeting this past fall, Atkinson promised the Regents that he would resolve the name issue before Christmas.
In his letter, Atkinson told the Regents his selection of the name UC Merced recognized that the name was already gaining acceptance across the state and was consistent with the university's tradition of using the name of nearby cities in referring to its campuses. He also said the name would honor the people of the city and county of Merced who had been "steadfast in their advocacy and support of the new campus."
Atkinson said the campus will serve the entire San Joaquin Valley and the state. As part of that mission, Atkinson said the university is already moving ahead with the development of new UC classes, academic research projects, and other educational programs in Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Modesto, and Visalia and other valley communities to help set the stage for the UC Merced campus.
Atkinson's letter stressed that the Regents must still exercise an option agreement to acquire the campus site. Atkinson also said the start of construction at the site depends on further action by the Regents and on adequate state funds to develop the new campus while ensuring the continued health and enrollment expansion of UC's existing nine campuses.
In her presentation at the Merced County Museum, Tomlinson-Keasey said the university would work with the museum to prepare an ongoing exhibit tracing the development of the new campus.
Included in the exhibit will be memorabilia from the site-selection process and documents and photos from the early campus-planning process. A copy of Atkinson's letter on the campus name will be included in the museum display along with a copy of a resolution from the UC Board of Regents authorizing continued planning of the new campus.
Earlier this year, the state legislature and the governor approved $4.9 million to begin planning the new campus. UC will seek additional funding for the new campus this year. Information about the new campus is available by calling (209) 225-5611.
More information about UC Merced, including maps, photos, and planning documents, is available on UC NewsWire, the University of California's systemwide Web news service.
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