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Campaign Priorities

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Campaign Priorities

Leading Through Discovery

This exciting time is full of potential and promise at UC Merced. With the philanthropic investment and partnership of our alumni, friends, and community, there’s no limit to what we can achieve as we forge new pathways and build a better tomorrow in California and across the globe.

Our university is uniquely positioned to deliver a new era of education. With the recently completed Merced 2020 Project, which doubled the size of the campus in a mere four years, UC Merced is one of the country’s fastest growing universities, widely recognized for our innovation and ability to create social mobility for graduates.

Our ever-evolving campus is dedicated to long-term sustainability and meaningful projects and actions that create practical solutions for our university and the world.

As the first research university of the 21st century, we understand that our once-in-a-generation opportunity is to create a sustainable and forward-looking economic, social, and environmental institution. Unconstrained by tradition, UC Merced is free to focus on the future by pushing boundaries and achieving sustainability success in everything from green buildings; LEED certification; water conservation, efficiency, and procurement; zero landfill waste; and climate neutrality.

Our dedication to sustainability is evident in everything we do – including our work to foster advancements and improve efficiencies in agricultural technology. UC Merced is one of four university campuses in the United States jointly committed to helping feed the booming world population, which is expected to surpass 9 billion people by 2050, requiring a 70 percent increase in food production. By fostering new technologies and developing a progressive infrastructure, we are helping create a more equitable, safer, nutritious, and sustainable future in food systems through precision agriculture.

UC Merced’s proximity and special partnership with Yosemite National Park features an extraordinary outdoor lab and research station. The Sierra Nevada Research Institute is our university’s first research institution, with faculty members and researchers conducting specialized environmental investigations that further our understanding of drought issues, wildfires, agri-food systems, and climate change.

UC Merced offers a continually growing list of majors, minors, and graduate programs taught by more than 250 tenure-track faculty members, alongside visiting professors and lecturers, all of who come from some of the world's top-ranked universities. The campus has three schools – School of Natural Sciences, School of Engineering, and School of Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts — with plans for the new Ernest & Julio Gallo School of Management. Bringing together faculty and expertise from several disciplines, the Gallo School will advance new thought on the science, design, technology, and management of complex human systems.


Cultivating Healthy Societies

Addressing longstanding disparities and improving outcomes in public health, health care access and quality, and employment opportunities in the Central Valley rank top among the university’s priorities. From our mission of conducting and sharing research for the public good, UC Merced is ideally suited to tackle pressing issues in several key areas impacting societies and communities, near and far — including medical education, public health, and labor and careers.

Within each specialty, UC Merced integrates expertise that spans the physical sciences, social sciences, and other interrelated fields. By inspiring top faculty and students, mobilizing key community relationships, and engaging philanthropic support, these vital programs promise lasting and transformative impacts on the health and economic well-being of the region and beyond.

In partnership with UCSF and UCSF Fresno, UC Merced’s­­ Medical Education program provides students with a strong foundation in basic sciences. That bedrock knowledge is then combined with preclinical medical training and clinical rotations to take students from their bachelor of science (BS) degrees through their doctor of medicine (MD) programs.

Eliminating the severe shortage of frontline health workers in the Central Valley is of particular importance and requires identifying and supporting the success of medical students with local ties by creating professional opportunities for them in the region. Recruitment efforts among local high schools and financial support for students interested in pursuing this course of study and careers dedicated to the Valley’s unique health needs will help achieve these aims. Medical students are more likely to remain in the region where they participate in their training, making the UCSF Fresno connection a valuable source for developing future and permanent healthcare providers and patient advocates for the Valley.

UC Merced is also on the forefront of tackling urgent health challenges by conducting cutting-edge research that informs public policy and practice and helps individuals make the best choices for themselves and their families. Our university’s public-health investigators have a mission to protect and promote the health of our communities. They are finding new solutions and approaches to challenges in public-health systems and services, nutrition, behavioral and mental health, environmental health, tobacco control, Latino health, epidemiology, immunology, infectious disease, translational research, health policy, and overcoming health disparities.

As part of our university’s mission, many of our academic units and programs serve the needs of the Central Valley, including the Health Sciences Research Institute, which fosters world-renowned researchers through its work to improve the health of the people in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond, and the UC Merced Community and Labor Center, which leads our efforts to advance knowledge, education, and research on issues of community, labor, and employment, creating healthier and more sustainable communities. Collaborative projects explore and address urgent problems facing working people, especially the historically marginalized.


Empowering Student Excellence

UC Merced’s students represent the diversity, promise, and innovative spirit of California. The campus’s interdisciplinary approach to learning appeals to generations of scholars, with undergraduates and graduate students conducting some of the most pioneering research and investigations of our time.

Our university is proud to serve more than 9,100 students – 91.5 percent undergraduates and 8.5 percent graduate – with the overwhelming majority from California. More than 27 percent of the undergraduate population is from the San Joaquin Valley, 25 percent from the San Francisco Bay Area, and 23 percent from the Los Angeles region. Less than 1 percent are from outside the state. We lead the University of California system in the percentage of students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups and low-income families and count the highest percentage of first-generation college attendees.

UC Merced is committed to providing our state’s outstanding students with higher education access and opportunity. Educating, training, and mentoring these many future leaders and changemakers requires us to scale services, support programs, and financial aid to meet the evolving needs and escalating expenses of our highly diverse student body. Undergraduate scholarships play an essential role in enabling the brightest and most promising students with opportunities to succeed and thrive at UC Merced.

Scholarship support is the vital link to many students’ ability to attend UC Merced. The security of a scholarship enables each recipient to concentrate on coursework, participate in research or internships, and graduate with much less debt.

Similarly, graduate fellowships -- which significantly boost UC Merced’s ability to offer competitive financial packages to talented master’s and doctoral students -- is critical to recruiting and retaining the brightest minds. By expanding support for graduate fellowships, UC Merced is investing in the future of our intellectual prominence through the development of our emerging scholars, educators, scientists, and researchers. Endowed or current-use fellowships empower tomorrow’s leaders to engage in innovation, creativity, and discovery with the guidance and mentorship of our exceptional faculty.

We are dedicated to making the student experience as memorable for our students during their academic journeys as their classroom learning and professional development. Enhancing opportunities for our undergraduates means ensuring access to resources and services and providing support. The campus offers life-changing study abroad and internship experiences, encourages competitive drive, and is steeped in a culture of high performance. Whether students choose athletics, academic, cultural, or civic service clubs or become part of the Yosemite Leadership Program with its guarantee of a National Park Service job after graduation, the experiences of UC Merced students encourage life-long learning and inspire achievement.

To help ensure access and accommodate our rapidly increasing number of students, philanthropic investment in new and expanded facilities is essential. We seek to create and broaden spaces where learning and research flourishes, novel ideas and collaborative thinking have room to develop and evolve, and the drive to compete and excel are supported through top-notch intercollegiate sports programs. By empowering UC Merced to build and expand classrooms, labs, and dedicated areas for student activities and services – as well as the infrastructure to support living, recreational, and student-athlete needs including housing, food, and athletic fields, courts, and arenas — we are collectively assuring future generations the space to succeed and thrive.