A Message from the Dean - December 2017

Dairy farm
“Mooy Christmas and a Happy Moo Year!” from the cows at the UC Davis Dairy Barn.
Generous supporters help make our future bright
As the year draws to a close, I want to share how proud I am of the faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The future of our college is bright and each of us plays an integral part. Our historic successes position us well to address the challenges facing our communities, our agricultural lands and the natural world. With the generosity of our supporters, we continue to grow our capacity to teach students, conduct research and reach out to our diverse state. I’d like to take a moment to thank some of the recent supporters of our college.

DeWayne Quinn “adopted” an acre at Russell Ranch, the site of our long-term research into sustainable agriculture practices. Quinn is an alumnus of the College of Letters and Science. He wanted to honor his late friend and fellow Aggie football player, David Camboia, who grew up in a farming family in the San Joaquin Valley. You can read more about Quinn’s heartfelt gift and his generosity here. Support like this helps us to build additional opportunities for agricultural research, student training and community service.

Loyal UC Davis staff also have made generous contributions this year. Tiffany Fairbanks and Michelle Poesy, both members of the Development and Alumni Relations office, visited the Student Farm in November. Inspired by what they learned from the program’s new director, Katharina Ullmann, and the students working there, they both decided to make gifts through a monthly payroll deduction.

It was 2001 when Robert Mondavi, the renowned California wine producer, made a personal gift of $25 million to establish the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. This complex of state-of-the-art research and teaching buildings has opened a new era of opportunity for UC Davis and its widely acclaimed wine, beer and food programs.

This facility provided our faculty with the capacity to respond recently to immediate inquiries from wineries affected by the tragic wine country fires this fall. Silverado Vineyards offered a matching gift challenge of $100,000 for research on smoke taint to support the industry after the fires, and their winemaker, fermentation science alumnus Jon Emmerich, is spearheading this project. I also want to acknowledge the viticulture and enology graduate students who volunteered their time away from their own projects to work on the smoke taint issue. This responsiveness is possible because of the technical capabilities afforded by our specialized facilities and the commitment of the winemaking community. I remain grateful to all of the philanthropists who have funded research and teaching programs and supported the growth and building infrastructure of the institute over the years.

I would like to thank Paul and Sandi Bonderson, who are facilitating and funding off-campus opportunities for our students to learn about waterfowl, wildlife and habitat restoration. Expanding research and off-campus learning opportunities is one of our highest priorities so that students can complement their excellent classroom experience with knowledge of first-hand applications in the field. Paul and Sandi’s partnership helps us better accomplish this mission.

If you would like to help support our students, our research and the impact our programs have on the world, please consider joining the Dean’s Circle—a group of committed donors who support our annual fund. The Dean’s Circle has been used to support programs such as the Summer Mathematics and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy at UC Davis. This residential program for low-income, underrepresented and first-generation high school students prepares them to be more competitive in science, technology, engineering and math fields upon entry into college.

Dean’s Circle funds have also been used to pay for student housing at the Bodega Marine Lab, transporting students to San Francisco to attend a food show, and also to help send students to the Netherlands to present their entry in Wageningen University’s “Design the Ultimate Urban Greenhouse” competition.

These are just a few of the ways people have demonstrated their support of our college. There are many others, of course, and to all of you we say, “thank you!” Your generosity goes beyond supporting the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Your generosity makes a statement of faith in the future of our campus and the belief that together we can make the world a better place. To all of you, best wishes for a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.