UC Merced And PG&E Corp. Team Up To Promote New University To Valley Students


(Merced, CA)- PG&E Corporation is contributing $100,000 to the University of California, Merced, to enhance outreach to San Joaquin Valley residents and draw students to the new campus when it opens in 2004.

"Our goal is to make UC Merced the first-choice campus of every college-age student in the San Joaquin Valley," said UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "UC Merced will be the high-technology hub for the Central Valley. This is where we will shrink the Digital Divide and prepare the region's residents for careers in the New Economy. Our partnership with PG&E Corporation will help us show every student in the region that opportunities abound in their own backyard."

The Merced campus is the 10th in the University of California system and the first new UC campus in nearly 40 years. It has been heralded as the key driver for economic development in the San Joaquin Valley, providing jobs on the campus, and spurring economic development nearby. With technology as a focus in the classroom and improved technological infrastructure a goal for the region, UC Merced is expected to bring to the Central Valley some of the growth experienced in the rest of the state, particularly in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.

"PG&E Corporation is supporting UC Merced with good reason: our company benefits when the economy is strong and healthy," said Gordon R. Smith, president and CEO of PG&E Corporation's utility unit Pacific Gas and Electric Company. "UC Merced will bring knowledge, opportunity, and jobs to the Central Valley. We have a long tradition of supporting higher education and are honored to get in on the ground floor of a project that promises to help spur the local economy and open doors to many students throughout the valley."

UC Merced officials will use PG&E Corporation's $100,000 contribution to expand and enrich their efforts to ensure strong local representation among the students in the first classes at UC Merced. Building on the network of public schools involved in the UC Scholars program, UC Merced will create "PG&E Math Academies" at 10 or more schools throughout the San Joaquin Valley. The PG&E Math Academies will help seventh- and eighth-grade students over the sometimes difficult algebra and math hurdles before they reach high school, which better prepares them for a successful path to college. The program will also expand students' awareness of the campus' offerings.

"As other UC and California State University campuses struggle to increase diversity, UC Merced plans to ensure diversity from the beginning by marketing itself to the entire San Joaquin Valley community," said Tomlinson-Keasey.

"It is our hope that PG&E Corporation's donation is just the first of many from the business community," Smith added. "The private sector will benefit greatly when UC Merced opens. With that in mind, we at PG&E Corporation issue a challenge to our colleagues in the business community: Be part of the support network that will help ensure success for students valley wide through UC Merced."

PG&E Corporation, with 1999 revenues of almost $21 billion and operations in 27 states, markets energy services and products throughout North America through its National Energy Group. PG&E Corporation's businesses also include Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the Northern and Central California utility that deliver natural gas and electricity to one in every 20 Americans.


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