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Chancellor Leland’s Lasting Legacy

August 8, 2019
Groundbreaking ceremony for the Merced 2020 Project
The 2016 groundbreaking for the Merced 2020 Project was among the top highlights of Chancellor Dorothy Leland’s eight years on campus.

UC Merced has celebrated a number of milestones and achievements in Chancellor Leland’s eight years on campus. Here are 10 of her greatest hits, as compiled by the Division of External Relations.

  1. Merced 2020 Project – From approval to groundbreaking to opening, Chancellor Leland has built her legacy through UC Merced’s award-winning expansion.
  2. Carnegie R2 Classification – In 2016, UC Merced became the youngest university ever to receive this important designation for research universities.
  3. Rankings – During Leland’s tenure, UC Merced debuted in the US News rankings, earned high marks for social mobility and was named a top young university.
  4. University of the Year – In 2018, the university was recognized by Education Dive for its ambitious expansion and the social mobility of its students.
  5. Downtown Campus Center – The new administrative building in downtown Merced has been a catalyst for economic growth in the area.
  6. Women in leadership – Leland has shown great leadership in hiring women into key leadership positions, including deans, associate chancellors and others.
  7. Growth – Undergraduate enrollment has grown by nearly 3,000, graduate enrollment has more than doubled, and our alumni base surpassed 10,000 during Leland’s tenure.
  8. Major research centers – Under Leland’s leadership, the campus secured major grants from NASA, NSF, the UC and others to create new centers and institutes.   
  9. New buildings – Even before the massive 2020 Project, Leland oversaw the opening of the Science and Engineering Building 2, Classroom and Office Building 2, and more.
  10. Community Engagement Classification – In 2015, UC Merced was recognized for its institutional emphasis on collaboration with the community in research and service.

Did we miss any? Do you have a favorite memory of Chancellor Leland? Send your thoughts to