A Message From the Dean - March 2019

CA&ES Dean Helene Dillard speaks with UC Davis Chancellor Gary May (left) and Department of Viticulture and Enology Chair David Block (right) about the need to expand facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Planned improvements would greatly benefit research and teaching capabilities and better prepare the next generation of wine makers and industry professionals.
CA&ES Dean Helene Dillard speaks with UC Davis Chancellor Gary May (left) and Department of Viticulture and Enology Chair David Block (right) about the need to expand facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Planned improvements would greatly benefit research and teaching capabilities and better prepare the next generation of wine makers and industry professionals.

Investing in UC Davis is a smart way to adapt to a changing world

This winter has been extraordinary. We now have an abundant snowpack in the mountains and our reservoirs are filling to the brim. Our long drought is officially over. That’s great news, but we all know that our weather could swing back toward drier conditions without much warning. That’s one of the reasons the work we do is so important.

Our research is building resilience into our agricultural systems to ensure that California continues to grow an abundant food supply. For instance, the Smart Farm initiative looks at a full range of issues that must be addressed for California agriculture to adapt to a changing world. We increasingly need crops that can produce under drought conditions with improved resistance to pests and diseases, and that can be harvested without dependence on a shrinking pool of farm labor. 

Recognizing the importance of this work, UC Davis has made the Smart Farm project one of its highest campaign priorities. We are seeking partners who share the goal of creating a future where everyone has access to safe and nutritious food. 

Smart Farm is just one of several campaign priorities for the campus and our college. We also seek to expand our world-renowned winery facilities at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Taking our viticulture and enology program to the next level will require construction of a lecture hall in proximity to those facilities, moving teaching laboratories adjacent to the winery and increasing fermentation capacity with a major building expansion. This will improve the overall research and teaching experience for both students and faculty, and better prepare the next generation of wine makers and industry professionals.

Vastly improved animal science facilities are another campaign goal. Did you know that UC Davis hosts the University of California’s only animal science program? Our students have the opportunity to interact with and care for many different types of animals through our program, which is ranked first in the nation. However, our facilities are outdated for effective teaching and research. A modern agricultural pavilion on campus would address needs for a large covered arena, classroom and teaching labs, and would improve our capabilities for our undergraduates, graduate students and veterinary students in animal husbandry, reproduction, nutrition and care.

These are just a few examples of the campaign goals we are looking to fulfill. The campus has made it easy for everyone to participate in our fundraising efforts with the annual UC Davis Give Day coming up on April 12 and 13, which coincides with the 105thPicnic Day. Last year, the campus raised more than $1.7 million from 4,047 gifts during Give Day. Please join us in our efforts to build our programs so that faculty, students, staff and stakeholders have the resources and tools to continue to support society’s shifting needs. All gifts, no matter the size, are greatly appreciated. 

Our university has been a catalyst for positive change in California for a long time. Now more than ever we all need to bolster investment in research, teaching and outreach at our land-grant institutions to ensure a sustainable future for everyone.

Learn more about our college’s campaign priorities, and please join us today to show your support on Give Day.

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