UC Merced's new chancellor talks about changing lives

Juan Sanchez Munoz graduated from UC Santa Barbara, received his Masters from Cal State, LA, and his Ph.D. from UCLA.
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UC Merced's newest chancellor, Juan Sanchez Munoz, will become the school's first Hispanic leader when he takes over in July.

Munoz' father once worked the fields of the Valley. His parents instilled the value of education.

For the past three years, the incoming chancellor has served as President at the University of Houston - Downtown.

Munoz hasn't yet stepped onto the UC Merced campus. But he graduated from UC Santa Barbara, received his Masters from Cal State, LA, and his Ph.D. from UCLA. He knows personally how the UC system can change lives.

Munoz explained, "When you couple that with the fact that the majority of the students are students of color, 60% of who are Pell-eligible. And the kinds of outcomes of students and their families that are being achieved at UC Merced... it's just a remarkable opportunity."

University of California President Janet Napolitano indicated individual campuses will decide how they will reopen in the fall.

At this point, Munoz doesn't know if UC Merced will offer remote learning only or a hybrid approach of online and in-person education.

He said, "I've not had enough conversations with the campus leadership that have a sense of the kind of deliberations that have taken place relative to this topic. But I hope to in short order."

Munoz' message to students during the pandemic - don't let the disruption become a permanent distraction.

The school's 4th chancellor spoke highly of the school's research on the environment and sustainability.

Munoz said, "These are going to become profoundly greater issues of our country and our world and UC Merced will play a critical role in articulating the science."

Munoz will move to Merced with his wife, who is also a professor, and their 14-year old son.
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