August 30, 2021
Re: Welcome to UC Merced
To: All Students
August 30, 2021
Welcome back to a new semester and academic year, one that has emerged from a difficult period but one which I believe will raise UC Merced to new heights.
During the past 18 months we have conducted world-renowned research, taught our graduate and undergraduate students, been home to many young people for whom campus was the best place to continue their education, opened new facilities for teaching, research, living and recreation, and throughout it all, burnished our local, national and regional reputation.
Now we are here, in person, to continue our momentum. We are welcoming our largest first-year class ever, at 2,466, along with 282 new transfer students and 146 new graduate students for a total enrollment of 9,226 as we start the academic year. We have received the largest gift in UC Merced history, from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, and I will share some thoughts on how we will leverage these funds during my annual State of the University address in October. And we are close to finalizing our first-ever strategic plan, for growth and strategic investments over the coming decade.
The student numbers tell a story about UC Merced’s increasing attractiveness to young scholars — and their eagerness to return to in-person instruction. We believe we are as ready as is humanly possible to welcome them, thanks to the work of so many faculty and staff over the past year and a half. Our campus community is nearly 90% vaccinated, and we have health and safety protocols in place to ensure active monitoring and rapid response to any issues. Nevertheless, of course, as I noted earlier this summer, we must remain nimble and adapt to swiftly changing circumstances. We are prepared to do so.
But we are also prepared to teach, to research and to continue our public service mission, as we have been since 2005. We have carried out these obligations with brilliance, perseverance and passion, and I have no doubt this community will bring all those qualities to the table for the 2021-2022 academic year and beyond.
I welcome you — or welcome you back — to what promises to be a memorable year at UC Merced, a bright shining light of higher education and of the Central Valley. Go Bobcats!
Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.