A Message from Dean Helene Dillard

Dean Helene R. Dillard
Dean Helene R. Dillard

Welcoming students to campus and the 28th annual College Celebration

After Labor Day, UC Davis prepares for a fresh wave of new and returning students, and indeed, that wave has grown significantly. This fall, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will welcome 1,179 freshmen and 918 transfer students. That’s about a 17 percent increase over last year. Campuswide, we expect more than 9,000 new students. 


With an increase in the number of students comes a need to increase faculty and resources within the college. We are continuing to expand the ranks of our faculty, with 21 new hires in 2015 and 13 so far in 2016. Altogether, we now have 381 faculty members, approximately 7,000 undergraduate students in 30 majors, and more than 1,000 graduate students in 23 graduate groups and programs. Our largest majors are Animal Science, Managerial Economics, and Human Development. Our goal is to provide our students with the best education possible while accommodating the governor’s requested increase in the number of admitted and enrolled students over the coming years.

UC Davis can seem like a big place for newcomers, but our college makes it easy for students to find others with shared interests. College Orientation, coming up September 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. in Geidt Hall, will help new students get their bearings. It also provides an opportunity to meet with academic advisers who can help students navigate the choice of classes and find a support network. The next day, September 20, CA&ES students are invited to an ice cream social on the lawn on the north side of Mrak

Hall from 3 to 4:30 p.m. We also encourage students to take advantage of faculty office hours and other social events sponsored by departments. Most college majors have a club, and there are plenty of opportunities for service through campus and college organizations like the Aggie Ambassadors. We are committed to making CA&ES a place where students can feel at home for the duration of their college experience.

Another sure sign that it’s fall is College Celebration, which will happen this year on October 14. This annual event is our largest gathering of the CA&ES family. We will acknowledge our accomplishments and the people who help make the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences a world leader in so many areas. Starting at 5:30 p.m., we will honor seven people with an Award of Distinction, the highest recognition given by our college to alumni, friends, faculty, and staff. The 2016 recipients are:

  • Robert Bertram (alumnus)
  • Therese Watkins McMillan (alumna)
  • Carlos Alvarez (friend)
  • Don Bransford (friend)
  • Peter Mattson (friend)
  • James Hill (faculty)
  • Israel Herrera (staff)

After the awards ceremony, we’ll enjoy great food, libation, conversation, and camaraderie. At the end of the evening, everyone is invited to fill a bag of California agricultural products from our Farmers Market display. These California classics—fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, and other items—have been donated by our generous friends in the agricultural community. This will be the 28th year for College Celebration, and I hope you can join us for the festivities. Ticket prices are $20, and UC Davis students can register for $10. To learn more, please visit the College Celebration website. See you there! 

Helene R. Dillard


College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

University of California, Davis