UC Merced Chancellor stepping down from position in August

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After eight years as the head of California's youngest University of California campus, Dorothy Leland is announcing her retirement.

"So it seems good for the campus, and good for me at this point in time," Leland said.

During her time at the university, Leland has overseen a massive more than $1 billion building project, doubling the size of the campus, increasing enrollment by 4,000. There are now 8,000 students, and Leland believes it is a thriving campus that has come a long way.

"There was a lot of press back then about the boondoggle of UC Merced and people were writing we ought to close the doors," she said.

Enrollment is expected to reach 10,000 soon. While the campus has the lowest completion rate of any UC Campus, 64 percent graduate, it also is the easiest to get into with a 74 percent acceptance rate. 70 percent of the student body is Latino, and it has the highest number of DACA students of any UC Campus,

"The stress they have been under the last two years is incredible and in my view unconscionable," Leland said.

She vows to keep fighting for their rights to stay in this country, "In retirement, I will be able to and will continue to work on immigration reform, and I will be able to do some things I couldn't do as Chancellor, like, walk a picket line."

Leland is 71. She plans to retire to the Bay Area to be with her grandchildren, and she says she'll write a couple of books.

UC President Janet Napolitano says a nationwide search for Leland's replacement is underway.
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