'I've done what I came here to do:' UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland prepares for retirement

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- After more than eight years as head of the state's youngest University of California Campus, UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland is retiring.

Since her appointment in 2011, UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland has taken the campus' progress to new heights.

"I feel like I've done what I came here to do I feel like the campus is in good shape that it's a really good time for a transition," Leland said. "I feel like the campus is ready for a new vision for fresh energy."

Leland oversaw a $1 billion expansion project that doubled the size of the university campus.

"I got here I discovered that we were slammed for space; the demand to get into UC Merced was increasing every year. (We) serve an incredibly important student population. Most of them are low-income, first-generation, and from underrepresented minorities. They deserve every chance that kids did 20 years ago, to have the best research facilities and dining halls of any UC campus," she said.

That campus climate, diversity, and opportunity allowed them to double enrollment to 8,000 students.

"We are only second to UC Berkeley in the percentage of students that go on to get PH.D.'s," she said.

Leland said she would stay to see through the 2020 expansion project and plans to enhance the university's existing partnership with our national parks.

Looking back on her accomplishments, she said measures her success by the success of her students.

While the nationwide search continues for Leland's replacement, she leaves them with this bit of advice, "Love this community. Love our students. Know that we can be a highly internationally recognized research university, that's also known equally or its commitment to diversity."

The University will be holding a celebration of Chancellor Leland's legacy on Wednesday for invited guests.

EDITORS NOTE: A previous version of this story said that there would be a celebration for Chancellor Leland on Wednesday, on Monday they clarified that the event would be for invited guests only.
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