Juan Sánchez Muñoz
The greatest satisfaction we have in the academic profession is to guide our students as they learn, grow, graduate, and move through their lives beyond the university. UC Merced Graduates: Congratulations! Graduation is a time to focus on your success. We celebrate you and look ahead to your bright futures. You have graduated from one of the great campuses of the greatest university system in the world. You are all essential members of this UC Merced community, helping us build a culture of inquiry, discovery and learning that will last for generations. You have persevered through challenges and overcome obstacles — never more so than during the pandemic — and you leave UC Merced more prepared than ever to succeed in your careers and in your lives. You are boldly setting out to contribute to a world that desperately needs your ideas, your problem-solving abilities, your passion, and your willingness to explore, create and innovate. Some of you came to Merced with doubts to overcome, and with competing priorities and challenges in your lives. But you did not lose faith in your own abilities. You did not lose the belief that you had something important to accomplish. You have seen your lives transformed and your futures opened wide by the attainment of a University of California degree — a rare and celebrated achievement. And just look at what you have accomplished. Ph.D. students stood on the shoulders of giants to further human understanding. Master’s students gained the professional depth to add great value to any environment they choose. Undergraduates became adult learners, determining and shaping their own educational experience for the first time. The intelligence and determination you brought to, and amplified on, our campus and in our community will continue to serve you throughout your lives and continue to burnish the reputation of this institution. Whatever your next step — embrace the intrepid spirit that is emblematic of the UC Merced experience. My role as chancellor, and indeed my honor, is to congratulate each of you on behalf of this great university. And so, it is with heartfelt joy for you and your loved ones, and with great hope for our shared future, that I say again: Congratulations. Una vez más: ¡Muchas Felicidades! And go Bobcats!
Traditions + Symbols
The Seal of the University of California
The University of California has used two different seals over its lifetime. The present seal, which was authorized to be designed in 1903, was put into use in 1910. Designed by Tiffany and Company, the seal incorporates symbolic icons and phrases that represent the portrait of the image of the University.
The open book is symbolic of the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge; the letter “A” highlighted in the text of the book represents the beginning of wisdom. Above the book is a five-pointed star emanating rays of light, which also represents the discovery and sharing of knowledge. The English translation of the university motto, “Fiat Lux,” or “Let There be Light” is displayed upon a scroll, representing the coming of light, knowledge and wisdom into the world. The date upon the seal is the founding date of the University.
The UC Merced Mace
The academic mace’s symbolism is derived from the mythological club of Hercules. During European medieval times, maces began to be used for civil purposes and were carried in processions of city mayors and of other dignitaries. Eventually the mace became a symbol also for academic institutions, an emblem of order and authority in the pageantry of ceremonial occasions. The mace stands for lawful power and regal authority, and was carried by Zeus, the Greek God of moral law and order.
Most academic maces take the same general shape. At the top is an ornament placed on a bulbous head; ring-shaped enlargements are found on the shaft; and the base is a round, foliated ornament.
The UC Merced mace was a gift from the Class of 2008, to represent the history, ideals and goals of the university. Local woodworker Pope Lawrence designed and created the ceremonial mace.
The UC Merced mace was turned and assembled from walnut wood. The mace head is from a tree grown in the Central Valley area near Le Grand and the wood for the shaft came from a tree grown in Petaluma. The mace has a Chancellor’s Medal inset in the head and a California Sesquicentennial “Diversity” coin in the base.
The Presidential Medallion
Presidential medallions are closely allied with maces and seals as traditional symbols of authority. A medallion is typically inscribed with the seal of the institution and is worn over academic regalia on ceremonial occasions, particularly at commencements and convocations. The UC Merced medallion is suspended on a chain that incorporates plates inscribed with the names and terms of office of each of the institution’s chancellors.