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Beginning of the 2019-20 Academic Year

August 28, 2019
Dear Campus Community,
 
Today marks the start of the 2019-20 academic year! And it marks my second full week as interim chancellor.
 
For all of us – it’s a new beginning.
Dear Campus Community,
 
Today marks the start of the 2019-20 academic year! And it marks my second full week as interim chancellor.
 
For all of us – it’s a new beginning.
 
It’s a new beginning for our distinguished faculty, both those who are just joining us and those returning to a new year of teaching and research at UC Merced. We are fortunate that they are distinguished not just in their respective academic fields but also in their innovative thinking and pioneering spirit.
 
It’s a new beginning for our staff, who are among the most creative in the UC system, the most open to change and the most committed to the teaching and research mission.
 
And it’s a new beginning for our students, including our new class of first year students who yesterday marked that new beginning by observing a hallowed campus tradition: walking across Scholars Bridge then under the soaring arcs of Beginnings. It is a journey they will make again when they graduate four years from now, but walking in the opposite direction – the marking of the end of one chapter of their lives and the beginning of another.
 
These students represent the face and future of California – students who represent all regions of the state, who are among the most academically qualified of any class to attend UC Merced, and who live, learn and study among the most diverse population of students of any UC campus. They are students who will be well-supported by our staff and well-taught by our faculty, and who will leave here with the tools for success to lift not just their own lives, but also their families, their communities and our society.
 
It’s also a new beginning for our campus, which less than two weeks ago bid farewell to our longtime chancellor Dorothy Leland. Over the last eight years, Chancellor Emerita Leland led this campus through some very challenging years – what I, the father of six children, would call a very difficult childhood and early adolescence – into what today marks the beginning of young adulthood for UC Merced.
 
It’s a young adulthood now marked by academic and research distinction as a Research-2 institution and a nationally-ranked “Top 100” public university. It’s marked by Merced 2020, which is now two-thirds completed so that we can now begin to focus less on the buildings themselves and more on the research and teaching that will happen in those buildings. It’s marked by our new efforts to shift from uncertain and insufficient budgets to the beginnings of self-sufficiency, financial stability and diversifying our revenue streams. And it’s marked by our continuing focus on student success, which I measure not just by persistence and graduation rates but by whether we have transformed our students into life-long learners and engaged citizens.
 
Student success, diversifying our financial resources and completing Merced 2020 on time and on budget – these represent my priorities as your interim chancellor.
 
These are big challenges, but I am confident that the spirit of UC Merced will prevail. With your continuing hard work and determination, we will look back in a few years on the start of the 2019-20 Academic Year as an important new beginning in the unfolding story of UC Merced and its leadership role in shaping a new California.
 
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this experience.
 
Fiat lux,
Nathan Brostrom
Interim Chancellor