May 20, 2020
Re: A Message from Chancellor-Designate Juan Sánchez Muñoz
To: Campus and community
May 20, 2020
Dear Campus Community and Friends,
I am writing to express my excitement and gratitude at being named the fourth chancellor of the University of California, Merced.
I have been privileged to serve since 2017 as president of the University of Houston-Downtown, where we set enrollment and fundraising records and have embarked on an ambitious capital development program. However, the more I learned about UC Merced, I realized what a significant opportunity it would be to return to California to serve its rich and diverse Central Valley.
The journey of UC Merced students resonates with my own experience. The son of Mexican immigrants to California, I am a first-generation college student who graduated from UC and Cal State campuses, served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps, and taught high school and college in California.
I am grateful not just for the chance to help shepherd a maturing campus to the next level, but also to do so in partnership with such a distinctive and dynamic student body, faculty and staff.
This is a significant moment for the campus. Together we will mark the beginning of a new chapter, amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis and with the opening this summer of the final Merced 2020 buildings – another step in establishing UC Merced as a premier national public research institution.
I recognize that I am in the enviable position of inheriting a strong academic, research and administrative foundation thanks to the tireless efforts of Chancellor Emerita Dorothy Leland, as well as interim Chancellor Nathan Brostrom, the academic leadership and faculty.
We will honor all that has been achieved at UC Merced, while remaining committed to an equally inspired future. As the sudden and unexpected arrival of COVID-19 reminds us, we live in an unpredictable and fast-changing world. It is not a time for standing still. Indeed, UC Merced must do what it has always done best: develop new approaches to meeting emerging challenges with resilience and excellence. I am humbled by the Board of Regents and President Napolitano’s belief that I possess the skills, experience and vision to help UC Merced do just that.
Our time together will not officially begin until later this summer, when I plan to arrive on campus with my partner, Dr. Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz, and our youngest son, Juan Amado Munoz. In the meantime, Interim Chancellor Brostrom, campus leaders and I will be working closely together to ensure a smooth transition. During this period we will develop mechanisms for me to begin to introduce myself to you as well as for me to get to know you, your concerns and your aspirations.
For now, let me conclude by saying how honored I am to be joining the UC Merced family. I look forward to joining you soon, to continue building the future in the heart of California.
Juan Sánchez Muñoz