What a great weekend for our campus, graduating students, and their families. Commencement is one of my favorite times of year, but it’s also one of the most challenging events our campus puts together. This year presented its own unique challenge, with our familiar South Bowl venue now a construction site. I could not be more proud of the many ways in which staff and faculty came together, rolled up their sleeves and created a truly memorable pair of commencement ceremonies.
The weather was beautiful, and our campus was glistening. There was something special about having commencement in the quad, surrounded by our core academic buildings and our iconic Beginnings sculpture. As always, it brought me great joy to see so many smiling students with their proud friends and family, and to see so many of our staff and faculty members who volunteered to make it such a spectacular event.
Today marks the beginning of another one of my favorite annual traditions: Staff Appreciation Week! From Tuesday’s breakfast all the way through Friday’s picnic, I hope each of our staff members will take some much deserved time to relax, have fun and enjoy each other’s company. We are capping off an amazing year that brought us more students, new academic programs and honors, and the beginning 2020 construction. None of our successes would be possible without your hard work and your passion for our university and its students.
By this time next year, many of our staff will have moved into our new Downtown Campus Center, helping us continue to build on our strong relationships with the Merced community. Our faculty and staff who work on campus will watch the first buildings of the Merced 2020 Project grow right before our eyes. There is much hard work ahead of us, but I know we will accomplish great things.
I want to personally thank our faculty and staff for all that you do. May the summer months bring a bit of rest and recreation for every member of our remarkable UC Merced community.