UC Merced, I Approve

Welcome to UC Merced!
Welcome to UC Merced!

Introduction

So you're looking to attain a higher education, and your optimal preferences for choosing a college are:

  • The highest level of public education available
  • A brand new campus
  • Tightly knit student life
  • On site housing--no commuting
  • An institution and location that won't break the bank

If these are your preferences, may I suggest UC Merced?

UC Merced (UCM) broke ground in 2002 and was completed in 2005, making it California's 10th UC, and the first college built in the 21st century. It currently educates 2,500 students, with a capacity of over 5,000 students (it is slightly under 50% capacity currently). It is the highest level of California's three public college marques; the Junior College system, the California State University system, and the bracket UCM falls in to--the University of California system.

UC Merced Media

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Main Quad Area & Lecture HallsA Lecture HallAnother Primary Building on CampusOn-Site HousingMore On-Site Housing
The Main Quad Area & Lecture Halls
The Main Quad Area & Lecture Halls
A Lecture Hall
A Lecture Hall
Another Primary Building on Campus
Another Primary Building on Campus
On-Site Housing
On-Site Housing
More On-Site Housing
More On-Site Housing

Why UC Merced?

The University of California system decided that a new UC was necessary in 1988, and knew that one needed to be placed in the San Joaquin valley.

Modesto, Stockton, Visalia, and Hanford were considered locations, among others. The board knew that it wouldn't be wise (or fair) to place a UC in a city that already had a CSU (such as Bakersfield, or Fresno). Fresno could be an acceptable location, as the only city with a population over 300,000 and it's prime location almost equidistantly between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The decision was then made that a UC needed to be at the north end of the San Joaquin valley, as southern California already had 4 UCs, coastal central California had 2 UCs, the bay area had 2 UCs, and the lower Sacramento valley had one UC (Davis).

The city of Merced petitioned that the UC land grant should be theirs, with compelling reasons:

  • Merced is less than 2 and a half hours away from northern California's booming population centers: San Francisco & the bay area, and Sacramento.
  • Merced is less than 2 and a half hours away from Yosemite national park, and thus could be an attractive location for a UC.
  • Plenty of land is available for the UC, the population was tasteful (less than 80,000 people), and crime rates were acceptable.
  • Downtown Merced needed help; although crime rates were indeed tolerable--the town was becoming run-down and believed that a UC would be a good thing for the community.

The request was accepted, and the UC board picked an area 10 minutes northwest of Merced, situated next to Yosemite Lake & Park. Within the decade, the UC broke ground and was constructed--the 10th UC was welcomed, and it's birth couldn't had been more timely.

More UC Merced Media

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Cafeteria & Mess Hall.Inside the Cafeteria.An Empty Cafeteria on a Friday Afternoon.In House Pizza Bar With ChefStudent Life is Tightly Knit at UCM--Greek Life is Becoming Common.More Student Buildings Are Being Built--Capacity is at 50% Currently.
The Cafeteria & Mess Hall.
The Cafeteria & Mess Hall.
Inside the Cafeteria.
Inside the Cafeteria.
An Empty Cafeteria on a Friday Afternoon.
An Empty Cafeteria on a Friday Afternoon.
In House Pizza Bar With Chef
In House Pizza Bar With Chef
Student Life is Tightly Knit at UCM--Greek Life is Becoming Common.
Student Life is Tightly Knit at UCM--Greek Life is Becoming Common.
More Student Buildings Are Being Built--Capacity is at 50% Currently.
More Student Buildings Are Being Built--Capacity is at 50% Currently.

A Brand New UC

The construction of UC Merced couldn't had come at a better time--northern California's population was (and is) booming, people from the bay area were (and still are, more than ever) retreating inland to Stockton, Turlock, Modesto and Merced among others, for affordable living. Several UCs are now over capacity by as much as 20%; UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC San Diego. UC Merced's prime location suddenly became solid gold for students seeking an excellent education, while not breaking the bank. Students currently face a 78-79% chance of being declined to attend UCLA or UC Berkeley due to overcapacity among other reasons.

UC Merced is at around half-capacity for undergraduates. There are slightly over 100 full time professors at the campus currently. Acceptance rates were hovering around 76% in 2008, although students declaring intention to intend was at 11% (since others UCs were considered more desirable and/or better established). These numbers have made it easy for students that see the potential in getting the best quality university education California has to offer, without waiting in lines to attend.

The people of Merced found the opening of the UC to be timely, as well. Crime was rising slightly (although not nearly as bad as Modesto), downtown Merced was still neglected and run-down, and methamphetamine use among locals was becoming an issue--the UC's presence promised to help reinvigorate the town and it's people.

That promise has already come true--almost 4 years after it opened doors to students around the world, the town is becoming alive again. Now that education's best kept secret is out--I encourage you to give UC Merced a look--who knows, maybe a great education with a little cash left over isn't so far-fetched!

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Comments 7 comments

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Can you compare the women at this college to other UC schools? If I had to turn back the clock, this would be the deciding factor for me, if I were to have gone to college.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Mike

There are nice universities in QC. :D


Direxmd profile image

Direxmd 7 years ago from Sonoma County, California Author

ha, toad--Playboy magazine has an article every year outlining exactly that, and also the best party schools. Better get a subscription now.

Cris,

I live in QC.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

yeah right and i'm bipolar :D


britneydavidson profile image

britneydavidson 7 years ago from united kingdom

wow great information...the construction of buildings are really good...thanx for sharing it..


Direxmd profile image

Direxmd 7 years ago from Sonoma County, California Author

my pleasure britney, thanks for the read and comments :)

-Mike


Moravecglobal profile image

Moravecglobal 5 years ago from California

UC Merced...you are lucky not to have UC Berkeley's Chancellor. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of student sports including baseball, men’s, women’s gymnastics, women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”

But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found by Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste, inefficiencies in UC Berkeley (Cal), despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was accomplishing the same thing without expensive consultants.

Essentially, the process requires collecting, analyzing information from faculty, staff. Apparently, Cal senior management believe that the faculty, staff of their world-class university lacks the cognitive ability, integrity, energy to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor has lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated to $150 million. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (‘They told me to do it’, Birgeneau), credibility, trust, problems remain.

Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and academic senate leaders to identify $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

Students, staff, faculty, California Legislators are the victims of his incompetent decisions. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni, benefactors, donors, will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year while abdicating his work responsibilities.

Let there be light for transparency

The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

PS University of California Berkeley (Cal) ranking drops. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked Cal the 2nd leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place. By 2011 Cal had not returned to 2nd place.

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