The UC Merced Chancellor's Medal was established in 2005 and is the highest honor for extraordinary accomplishment that may be bestowed upon an individual by UC Merced. Recipients have included leaders in government, education, industry and the arts, as well as men and women who have advanced UC Merced's development into one of the world's premier research universities.
One side of the medal bears a modified version of the University of California seal. Designed by Tiffany & Co., the original seal was adopted by the University of California in 1910. It features the words "The University of California" and the year the university was founded, 1868, around the rim of a circle. Within the circle is an open book, symbolizing the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge. The only legible text inside the book is a capital A, signifying the beginning of wisdom. Across the bottom of the book, a banner proclaims the university’s motto, "Let there be light." Atop the open book, a five-pointed star emits rays of light, symbolizing the discovery and propagation of knowledge. The rendering that appears on The Chancellor's Medal incorporates one variation: UC Merced is inscribed in place of the university’s founding date.
The UC Merced Chancellor's Medal is be bestowed upon individuals of exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement, whose body of work or contributions to society illustrate the highest ideals of UC Merced, and whose career has manifestly benefited the public well beyond the demands of tradition, rank or direct service to the university.
Nominations may be submitted throughout the year and are submitted to the Chancellor for approval on an ad hoc basis by the Vice Chancellor for External Relations. The Office of Protocol and Special Events, under the Vice Chancellor for External Relations, oversees the administration and processing of nominations for The UC Merced Chancellor's Medal.