Merced County Times Newspaper
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New crop of students start journey at UC Merced


UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz leads the charge as a sea of new, incoming students follow across the Scholars Bridge.

A stream of first-year UC Merced students take part in the longheld tradition.

UC Merced celebrated one of its oldest and most beloved traditions on Tuesday morning with the annual Scholars Bridge Crossing ceremony to kick off a new school year.

This time around — UC Merced’s 19th academic year — appeared to be the largest crossing to date, as admissions are at an all-time high.

A large mass of excited incoming students crowded the field outside of the Pavilion at the UC Merced campus early Tuesday morning in preparation for their first proper day as Bobcats. Attendees enjoyed music, photo booths, lawn games, dance performances, and a chance to say high to Rufus the Bobcat mascot.

There were speeches from UC Merced grads, student government representatives and UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz, who thanked incoming students for their decision to join the Bobcat family.

The “Bobcat PAWrade” followed with a procession of decorated golf carts, designed and driven by members of the various departments that make up the school. These carts — all decked out with school pride and showing off the faculty’s creativity — headed up the hill to Scholar’s Lane.

The PAWrade was followed by hundreds of first-year students who made their way onto Scholars Bridge and also through the New Beginnings Statue to start their academic journey.

“This is an exciting time to be at UC Merced as we see the continued growth of the campus with increased opportunities for students,” said Charles Nies, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “We will be expanding access to student success initiatives, support for student engagement, and enhancements to student leadership development, social justice advocacy and student well-being.”

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