Friendship is believed to be an important relationship to have because friends are there for you because friends will be there for you as someone you could rely on for anything. While UC Merced believes that friendship and connections are important, this event has a deeper meaning overall. Friendship Day at UC Merced is put on to honor the Melanie, Stanley, Stuart, and Michelle (MMSM) Scholarship Foundation which is a unique scholarship that supports students to attend college or university based entirely on the qualities that embody friendship.

Christine McFadden, the mother of Melanie, Stanley, Stuart, and Michelle, established the McFadden-Willis Children Memorial Foundation in May of 2002, after the lives of her children were taken on March 26th of that year. The foundation is a non-profit public charity that funds scholarships and educational and literary projects.

The MSSM Friendship Scholarship accumulates some of its funds through the sale of Friendship Cookies. All net proceeds go towards the scholarship funds and the scholarship is awarded to any incoming freshman from an United States high school. At the event on Friendship Day, Friendship Cookies were being sold in a small bag with a pin, some chocolate, and a yellow flower.


In addition to these items with the Friendship Cookies, there were several other tables with activities that students could participate in. These tables included Henna tattoos, Friendship Cards, and Friendship Bracelets. The event turned out to be a success, as people were still actively participating while the hosts (the Student Alumni Association) of the event were cleaning and taking down the canopies.

UC Merced Student Alumni Association. (2016). Honoring the MSSM Foundation [Brochure]. Author.


Picture credit: Savannah Guzman


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