U.C. Merced announced May 18 that Indian American cardiologist Dr. Hanimireddy Lakireddy and Merced Mayor Michael Murphy have been awarded the U.C. Merced Chancellor’s Medals.
The duo will be honored during a ceremony when restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.
“One of the great joys of being at UC Merced has been the opportunity to meet amazing people like Dr. Lakireddy and Mayor Murphy, who have been instrumental in the growth of the university and whose goodwill has meant so much to our students and our successes,” said interim chancellor Nathan Brostrom in a statement.
“Their support has honored UC Merced, and it is fitting and proper that our community honors each of them with a Chancellor’s Medal,” he said.
Both Lakireddy and Murphy have been instrumental in furthering the mission of UC Merced, a press release said.
Originally from a remote village in India, Lakireddy grew up without so much as running water. He credits education for his drive to learn and grow, eventually arriving in the United States in 1978.
“When I attended school as a young boy in India, we had no electricity, none of today's modern-day conveniences,” Lakireddy told U.C. Merced in 2002. “Yet thanks to my schooling and to higher education, I was able to make something of myself. Therefore, I now feel an obligation to show my gratitude for the opportunities that education has afforded me by giving back to this educational organization and giving back to my community.”
After studying to become a doctor in internal medicine and cardiology, Lakireddy eventually opened his practice in Merced, where he has since become a patron to many local educational institutions.
In 2002, Lakireddy made a generous $1 million donation towards what would become the eponymous Lakireddy Auditorium. Since its opening in 2006, thousands of students have studied and learned in what is one of the campus’ largest lecture halls, the release said.
Murphy, a two-term mayor, has been a staunch supporter of the university since he was elected to the city council in 2011, hailing U.C. Merced as a promising institution of higher education and a positive addition spurring the Merced community forward, the release said.
Established in 2005, the Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor of accomplishment given to an individual by the university.
It is an award reserved for those who epitomize exemplary engagement, an unwavering commitment, and a transformative and lasting impact on U.C. Merced. Past recipients include Michelle Obama, Congressman Dennis Cardoza, former U.C. Regents Leo Kolligian and Fred Ruiz, local community and business leaders Art Kamangar and Calvin Bright, and other influential individuals, according to the release.