We just (April 20, 2019) returned from a couple of days in California’s Central Valley, mostly in and around Merced, home of the newest branch of the University of California.
We took a long walk around the university, which is in the midst of a big expansion. It was established in 2005 and original plans called for the expansion to occur much earlier, but the recession of 2008 curtailed a lot of the early work. Having graduated from one of the older UC branches (UCLA) ourselves, we especially enjoyed seeing a modern version establishing its own traditions. The school of engineering already has an excellent reputation, and they are expanding into a number of popular new fields, including cognitive science. If it were possible it would be tempting…
We also visited the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, which was a disappointment: since we had a wetter than usual winter and spring we expected to see lots of water birds, but there was only a little water and very few birds. The tule elk were hiding, too.
More enjoyable was the Merced Historical Museum and a short walk around the downtown area.
Surprising to us was how little the university and town seem to interact; our research on the web seems to indicate that the students are a rather serious lot and many stick around campus for their weekend fun. Parents, take note!