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UC Merced starts year bigger than ever
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UC Merced began its eighth academic year on Monday, posting new records in enrollment.

About 5,600 students started classes this week, including a 23 percent increase in graduate student enrollment. The new freshman class totals 1,500 students, with about 47 percent of those students Hispanic.

The university also added 26 new faculty members for fall 2012, now tallying more than 150 ladder-rank professors. The university had 60 professors when it opened in 2005.

"We're delighted with our initial growth, the caliber of our students, faculty and staff, and the overall quality institution that’s rising here in the heart of the Valley," said Chancellor Dorothy Leland. "Now it's time to take the next step – identifying and strengthening our most promising areas of academic and research excellence in order to make the greatest long-term contribution to the region, the state and the world.”

That effort will be accompanied by a new, campus-wide initiative to identify UC Merced’s strengths and sharpen research efforts.