The annual State of the College event at Merced College returns next month for the first time since 2019, with both an in-person event at the college’s amphitheater and a virtual option for individuals and groups to watch via livestream.

Scheduled for Oct. 14 at 11:30 a.m., the event will be ticketed, and anyone purchasing a ticket will have the option of viewing the event remotely via livestream. For those attending in person, health protocols will be in place and followed strictly to ensure the safety of all involved. Tickets can be purchased online at

As in previous years, this year’s event will include President Chris Vitelli’s State of the College Address, along with the awarding of the President’s Medallion Award to recognize the college’s greatest supporters.

This year’s recipients, Susie Downey and her late husband, Col. Russell Downey, donated $1 million to Merced College last year to support student success and access initiatives. In honor of their generosity, the Merced College Learning Resources Center will be named after the Downeys.

“The Downeys wanted to make an impact on the Merced community through their philanthropy, and they chose to support Merced College students in a truly meaningful way,” Vitelli said. “We are so grateful for their support, and I am personally thrilled to be able to honor them in this way.”

The Learning Resource Center at Merced College has become a hub for students to find the knowledge, support and services they need to succeed. Thanks in part to the Downeys’ gift, the Library building has been fully renovated and upgraded with students in mind.

New help desks, tutorial services and even food offerings make for a warm and welcoming environment for students to reach new heights in their academic careers. Study spaces have been thoughtfully curated, with new seating for individual and group work, high-tech new study rooms, and all the resources students need for research and learning.

Information about sponsorships, a campus map and other details can be found at

Merced College does not discriminate, and prohibits harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Media Contact: James Leonard,, 209-681-1061