Cardoza welcomes announcement of new UC Merced chancellor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) welcomed the announcement that University of California President Mark G. Yudof will recommend Georgia College & State University President Dorothy Leland to be the next chancellor of UC Merced.

If the UC Board of Regents approves the appointment next week, Leland would take office on July 1. A native of Southern California, Leland earned her doctorate degree from Purdue University and served as vice president of the 17,000-student Boca Raton Campus of Florida Atlantic University. As president of Georgia College, Dr. Leland oversaw a 54 percent increase in federal funding for research and sponsored projects during the past five years. This year, Georgia College was cited by U.S. News & World Report among a handful of public universities with a “strong commitment to teaching,” and was again named to Kiplinger’s Top 100 Public Colleges, according to a news release from Cardoza's office.

“The Valley and UC Merced will benefit from Dr. Leland’s impressive experience both in leading a small public university to national prominence, and also as an administrator in a major state university system,” Cardoza said in the news release. “In just six short years, UC Merced has significantly increased the number of San Joaquin Valley young people who go on to college after graduating high school, while also contributing new job and economic growth opportunities to our communities. I have enjoyed a strong, working relationship with Chancellor Steven Kang and founding Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, and I look forward to collaborating with Dr. Leland to grow UC Merced into one of our state’s leading institutions. I welcome Dr. Leland home to California, and will be by her side as she takes us to new heights.”

The news release said Cardoza was the first in his family to graduate from college, and that he had made bringing a four-year state university to the Central Valley one of his top priorities during his service in the California State Assembly. As a member of Congress, Cardoza has continued to support the growth of UC Merced, including the creation of the UC Merced School of Medicine to address the critical physician shortage in the Valley and improve the health of the region’s citizens, according to the news release. In fall 2011, the first class of six students will enter the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education, a partnership with UC Davis that is the first phase in developing UC Merced’s medical education program.