More than 1,100 students participated in ceremonies last weekend at UC Merced, marking another milestone for the university – its 10th graduating class. About 500 students crossed the stage May 16 to get their diplomas and advanced degrees. The ceremonies, which included natural sciences and engineering students, was just the start as about 600 social sciences and arts students did the same on May 17. The ceremonies were expected to draw 9,400 visitors to the school, filling motel rooms and restaurants throughout the weekend. About 36.3 percent of all undergraduate students at UC Merced are from the Central Valley, 35.2 percent from Southern California and 22 percent from the Central Coast and Bay Area. The keynote speaker for the first ceremony was Rice University mathematics professor Richard Tapia. The student speaker was Hatim Hanif, a biology major from Manteca. Cora Marrett, a former deputy director and acting director of the National Science Foundation, was the keynote speaker at the commencement the next day. The student speaker was management major John Elias from Santa Rosa. Both ceremonies took place in the South Bowl, a large grassy amphitheater near the center of campus.