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Welcome Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Delia Saenz

February 24, 2022
Re: Welcome Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Delia Saenz
To: All campus
February 25, 2022

Dear UC Merced community,

After an extensive nationwide search, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Delia S. Saenz, Ph.D., as our vice chancellor and chief diversity officer.

Dr. Saenz comes to us from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, where she is chief diversity officer and holds a faculty position in the Department of Psychology and the Hispanic Research Center. She has previously served as a vice president for inclusion, equity and leadership development at Bennington College and began her career on the psychology faculty at the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Saenz holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and an M.A. in Psychology from Princeton University, and a B.A. from Pan American University-Brownsville. She is a fellow of both the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Western Psychological Association, where she has also held leadership positions. Dr. Saenz has a long history of funded research through the National Science Foundation, US Agency for International Development, the Ford Foundation, and other funders, and has an extensive record of academic publishing in the areas of group processes, social identity and culture.

Dr. Saenz joins UC Merced this spring.

I want to commend the work of search advisory committee chair Dr. Teenie Matlock, and the entire committee, which included:

  • Mark Matsumoto, dean, School of Engineering
  • Cynthia Cortez, deputy chief diversity officer
  • Charles Nies, vice chancellor for student affairs
  • Shenethia Manuel, interim associate vice chancellor and chief human resources officer
  • Zulema Valdez, associate vice provost for the faculty
  • Chou Her, assistant vice chancellor for public safety and chief of police
  • Alvin Cha, assistant director for Gallo School planning
  • Sean Malloy, professor of history, critical race and ethnic studies
  • Laura Hamilton, professor of sociology
  • Tracey Osborne, associate professor of management of complex systems
  • Gehad Elhanafy, representative of the Associated Students of UC Merced
  • Aislinn Beam, representative of the Graduate Student Association
  • Andre Griggs, community representative
  • Luanna Putney, associate chancellor and chief of staff to the chancellor (ex officio)

I also want to thank Cecil Howard, J.D., for his outstanding work as interim vice chancellor and chief diversity officer over the past several months.

Please join me in applauding Mr. Howard and welcoming Dr. Saenz to UC Merced.


Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Ph.D.
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