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Brenda Ortiz

Perseverance, Leadership Key Themes of Campus’ Spring Commencement

UC Merced’s exuberant spring graduates got the chance to demonstrate their gratitude during the 13th Spring Commencement ceremonies this weekend as many of them paused to thank the faculty members and loved ones who helped them through their college journeys.

During the two ceremonies, UC Merced graduated more than 1,200 students, conferring 1,151 bachelor’s degrees, 18 master’s degrees and a record 49 doctoral degrees.

New Scholarship Pays Homage to Persistence and Research

A generous gift from the grandmother of a UC Merced alumna and current staff member is benefitting two undergraduate students who put the UC Merced Library to good use.

Melissa Becerra, a third-year psychology student, and Nathan Parmeter, who graduates this week, are the first recipients of the Carter Joseph Abrescy and Larry Kranich Library Award for Student Research Excellence.

New Endowment Enhances Alumni Association’s Initiatives

Last month, the UC Merced Alumni Association (UCMAA) established the UC Merced Alumni Association Journey Endowment with $25,000 it collected through fundraising efforts to support initiatives throughout campus.

Over the past several years, UC Merced alumni — especially UCMAA board members — have directed contributions to the alumni association to support the educational journeys of current and future students.

Grad Student’s Passion for Prince Fuels Research

Dig if you will, a picture: the chance to study Prince – the musician and purveyor of all things purple -- as a subject of academic research.

UC Merced’s Dalena Ngo did. For years, Ngo – a Minnesota native and lifelong Prince fan – wanted to examine aspects of the musician’s 40-plus year career and his influence as a cultural icon. As a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program, she’s been able to do just that.

Campus Conferring its Highest Number of Doctorates at Commencement

This weekend, 1,250 UC Merced undergraduate and graduate students, including 52 doctoral candidates — the most in the campus’s 12-year history — are expected to cross the commencement stage and embark on the next chapter of their lives.

“Commencement is the culmination of years of determination and is an exciting time for graduates and their families,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “We are thrilled to celebrate the courage, commitment and spirit of UC Merced students.”

Applied Math Grad Student Committed to Central Valley Roots

When Mario Banuelos was 12, his mother took him into the fields to tie grape vines.

The labor was tough and the wages were meager. After just one day on the job, Banuelos knew that his path in life would be different. He worked even harder in school and earned nearly straight As. His efforts paid off when he was selected for the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars program.

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