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White House Recognizes UC Merced for Supporting Latino Community

October 15, 2015

UC Merced is one of nearly 150 public and private sector organizations who answered the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics’ 25th anniversary call to action.

The campus has committed more than $750,000 through foundation support to the Gateway Scholars Program, which aims to significantly increase the number of first-generation, low-income and under-represented students. The program focuses on college readiness, matriculation, persistence and timely degree completion and has a special focus on early intervention strategies, scholarship support and retention efforts.

UC Merced, which has more than 40 percent of its undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic, is partnering with Merced High School, which serves 55 percent Hispanic students.

We are thrilled to receive recognition from the White House for this partnership with Merced High School that highlights our commitment to action around Hispanic education,” said interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies. “The focus of the Gateway Scholars Program is to expand equity and access to degree attainment by serving a minimum of 140 students over the next four years.”

In October 2014, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics launched a Year of Action, and with it a national call for Commitments to Action in honor of the initiative’s 25th anniversary. In the spirit of what President Barack Obama calls a “shared responsibility,” the initiative challenged the public and private sectors to make meaningful and quantifiable contributions to expand and support the educational outcomes and opportunities for the Latino community.

At a ceremony today (Oct. 15), the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, the president announced Commitments to Action with a collective investment of nearly $340 million to build on and accelerate federal, state and local investments in high-quality education for the nation’s Latino community.

To learn more about the initiative and to view the full list of Commitments to Action, visit