UC Merced kicks off new school year with decade-old tradition

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UC Merced is welcoming its new students with a 10-year-old tradition. About 1,700 first-year students crossed the Scholars Lane Bridge on Monday and walked through the Beginnings sculpture.

The ceremony marks the start of a new chapter in their lives. Graduates walk across the bridge in the opposite direction after receiving their degrees.

Chancellor Dorothy Leland welcomed the new students before they attended a conference on campus. A total of about 6,600 students will start class on Wednesday.

"It's so exciting to watch the growth over the past few years as more students come to UC Merced. It really to me continues to reinforce the promise we had when we opened the campus of providing access to quality education to students from across the state of California," said Charles Nies, interim vice chancellor for student affairs.

A second bridge crossing ceremony will take place Tuesday morning for about 125 transfer students.
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