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Sculpture will represent growth at UC Merced

A new sculpture will soon loom high in the air above the main quad at UC Merced.

"Beginnings" will consist of two curved, vertical arms that rise 40 feet into the air from a circular platform to represent growth and the university’s embrace of students and community, university officials said.

"No message could be more inspirational than the message of hope and giving that it conveys," Chancellor Steve Kang said. "It will remind all of us for generations to come what a major research university can and should do to help lift up a region and create a brighter future for its people."

The stainless-steel sculpture will stand at the open end of the quad, facing the city of Merced.

"Beginnings" was inspired by former Chancellor Rod Park in 2006 and designed by American sculptor Aris Demetrios. Park and his wife, Cathy, are primary donors for the gift.

"The UC Board of Regents envisioned this campus as a seed that would grow, addressing the educational and professional needs of the Central Valley and providing a much-needed stimulus to the local economy," Park said. "The design perfectly captures the sense of birth, outreach, nurturing and contribution."

Other contributors for the gift include the Bob and Marie Gallo family; Demetrios; and John, Joseph and John T. Franzia of Bronco Winery.

The sculpture is expected to be finished by Spring 2009 and will serve as the backdrop for the first graduation of a full senior class at the University.

Reporter Danielle Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or