About 45 hundred people filed into a huge tent near the new library on the U-C Merced campus for the dedication.
Among those attending were the one thousand new students, their parents, and a wide range of local and state officials and educators. Although Governor Schwarzenegger did not attend because of a reported scheduling conflict, three former California governors were on hand for the event.
During opening remarks Gerald Parsky, the President of the U-C Board of Regents, commented on the impact the school is expected to have on the Central Valley.
"The innovative research and intellectual energy of the new campus will also be a powerful engine for economic growth, new business and job creation throughout the valley."
Harvard University Law Professor Charles Ogletree Junior delivered the keynote address at the ceremony. Ogletree, a native of Merced, indicated to the "Class of 2009", their ethnic and geographic diversity is one of their greatest strengths.