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Office of Leadership, Service and Career

About The Souza Leadership Center!

The Margo F. Souza Student Leadership Center aspires to develop students' leadership skills, knowledge, capacity, and self-efficacy while also empowering students to thrive as life-long learners and leaders in the 21st century. The Souza Leadership Center is a unit within The Office of Leadership, Service, and Career. The center would not exist without the generous contributions of Central Valley local Margo F. Souza (pictured left), who is a champion for student leadership at UC Merced. 

We fulfill our mission through various events, programs, and initiatives. We carry out our mission with equity & inclusion in mind. We create programs that encourage students to celebrate and bring every part of their multiple identities to the table (from gender identity, ethnic identity, personality traits, and all other identites they hold). 

All of our initaitives align with the mission of UC Merced and the Strategic Initiatives of the Division of Student Affairs.

Our Main Events 

Annual UC Merced Leadership Conference | September 25-27th, 2020 | Open to all students!

Annual UC Merced Student Leadership Awards | Friday, April 30, 2021 | A celebration of leadership! 

Our Programs 

  • Bobcat Leadership Seminar more info
  • Yosemite Leadership Program more info
  • Leadership & Service Living Learning Community (LLC) more info
  • Thrive! Confidence & Resilience in Leadership more info
  • EMPOWER: Womxn’s Leader Development Program more info
  • BOLD: Black Students Organizing for Leadership & Development more info
  • Distinguished Leadership, Service, and Career Certificate Program (New! - Launching October 2020) 
  • Lead Pre-Health (New! Launching Spring 2021) 

Campus & Community Support 

In the News

  • The Souza Leadership Center welcomes young leaders from Merced! | Read Article
  • Nature Retreat Teaches Students the Importance of Service to Community | Read Article

Our Team 

  • The Souza Ledership Center Staff 
    • Jess Évora, Associate Director, Margo F. Souza Student Leadership Center
    • Jacob Croasdale, Margo F. Souza Student Leadership Center Coordinator
    • Andrea Guerra, Outreach and Resource Management Student Lead
    • Lidia Haile, Programming and Operations Student Lead
  • The Yosemite Leadership Program Team
    • Jacob Croasdale, Margo F. Souza Student Leadership Center Coordinator
    • Jesse Chakrin, Director, Wilderness Education Center (Staff member of Yosemite National Park)
  • Office of Leadership, Service, and Career
    • Brian O'Bruba, Executive Director, Office of Leadership, Service, and Career 
    • Trish Riddle, Administrative Assistant, Office of Leadership, Service, and Career

About Margo F. Souza

Margo Souza, former president and CEO of Turlock’s Circle H Dairy Ranch Inc., has pledged $1 million to establish The Margo F. Souza Leadership Center — a multi-faceted leadership program — housed within UC Merced’s Office of Leadership, Service and Career.

Souza, an alumna of Seattle University, said graduating from college has enriched her life immensely. Her passion for leadership and desire to help youth led her to donate to the newest UC campus. She believes the leadership center will be the catalyst to guide students — more than 60 percent who are the first in the family to earn a college degree — to become strong leaders and contributing members of society.

“We need to reinvent our future through the eyes of our youth,” said Souza. “Over time, this university will enhance and change many lives in the Central Valley.”

Click Here to read the press release about Margo Souza's generous donation to the university.


We value your feedback and ideas. Please contact us with comments, suggestions or for additional information at| Our campus location (Kolligian Library 184) is closed until further notice due to COVID. Our center is currently operating remotely, and continuing our programs at full capacity.