A Message From the Dean - February 2024

It’s that time of year when several of our staff, faculty and students travel to the Central Valley for the World Ag Expo. This event is always a great opportunity for our college experts to connect with industry leaders and prospective students. This year, Associate Dean of Agricultural Sciences Jason Bond, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs Sue Ebeler and I had the pleasure of attending the expo and meeting with UC Davis supporters. Several of our faculty from many of our departments, including viticulture and enology, animal science, plant pathology and plant sciences, engaged with attendees to discuss a variety of agricultural issues. Our Aggie Ambassadors and undergraduate student advisors answered questions about UC Davis majors and campus life, and we welcomed and celebrated our alums! Following the expo, we headed down to Bakersfield, where we collaborated with the Cal Aggie Alumni Association and hosted an alumni dinner with 40 alumni, parents and friends. It was great to be back in the Central Valley!

It is always energizing to follow up the World Ag Expo with our annual Field Day, where we host high school FFA and 4-H members. This year’s event is scheduled for March 1-2. For the past 48 years, the college has hosted and supported this campus tradition. Students come from all over the state to compete in more than 20 agriculturally based judging contests in farm business management, livestock, veterinary science, floriculture and vegetable crops, just to name a few categories. Our UC Davis students are actively engaged in coordinating and judging the contests, many of whom attended Field Day when they were in high school and enjoy helping with this amazing event.  

This month’s Highlights features several accolades for our community—we welcome Jason Bond as the new director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. He succeeds Lynn Kimsey, who retired after a distinguished career as the museum’s director and curator. We also welcome Associate Professor Ben Montpetit as the new chair for the Department of Viticulture and Enology. He replaces Professor Dave Block, who stepped down to focus on teaching and lead the new Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein at UC Davis. We also present several examples of student experiential learning with a story about scouting and identifying fungi and innovative ways to learn how to operate equipment through a virtual reality space. Professor Susan Harrison, department chair of environmental science and policy, is profiled for her deep commitment to natural diversity.

While it still feels like winter, there are early signs of spring. If you have a moment in between rainstorms, take some time to enjoy the almond trees and daffodils, which are just starting to bloom throughout the region.

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