A Message From the Dean - March 2024

Springtime on campus brings a renewal of life and energy that is hard to miss. The baby boom of animals in our barns is a testament to the season's new beginnings. Meanwhile, the Arboretum is a canvas of color and activity, with paths lined by blooming redbuds that seem to herald the warmer days ahead. This vibrant landscape serves as a living classroom, offering countless opportunities for learning and relaxation amidst the beauty of nature. I enjoy slipping out at lunch for a quick walk amongst the spring flowers to check on the foals at the Horse Barn nearby.

Here in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, we are having a busy spring!

On March 6, the campus sent out admission notifications to first-year students for fall 2024. The university continued to attract high numbers of applicants with a record high of more than 115,000 students seeking admission – 98,834 first year and 16,515 transfers students. Transfer applications represented a 12% increase over 2023 numbers. Approximately 13,000 of the applications were for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Aggie Day is on April 6! We always enjoy meeting with newly admitted students and their guests at this annual campus open house. Students have several opportunities to learn more about our college and campus, including a college-focused majors fair and a panel discussion and reception with faculty, advisors and current students at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. And just a reminder, the fall registration deadline for first years has been extended to May 15 due to nationwide changes with the FAFSA application.

Recognition of global engagement and impact is a hallmark of our commitment to worldwide collaboration and innovation. This year, Ermias Kebreab and Jonathan London were honored for their significant contributions to global engagement, reflecting the university's dedication to creating sustainable solutions and fostering inclusive communities both locally and globally.

In this month’s newsletter, we see several examples of academic exploration and innovation. A recent study on the cultivation of agave as a drought-tolerant crop for the future brings the potential for a new product for California producers. Meanwhile, another team is looking at how renewable energy projects can be built while preserving habitat of threatened and endangered species. The impact of the baby formula shortage on infant health has also been a focus, revealing the critical importance of nutrition in the earliest stages of life and the precariousness of the infant food supply. Additionally, the hidden threats posed by invasive plant species are being uncovered, highlighting the urgency of managing these 'ecological time bombs.' Beyond our borders, students finding adventure in Nepal have discovered not just friendship and purpose but also invaluable lessons on sustainability and cultural connection.

Looking ahead, April is filled with many opportunities for involvement and celebration. We are hosting 'Donuts with the Dean' on Picnic Day, April 20. CA&ES alumni, parents and friends are welcome to come and enjoy donuts and coffee with me before watching the parade and setting out for a full day of campus fun and festivities. Please visit the registration page to let us know you are coming and to learn more. In the spirit of community, Picnic Day coincides with our annual Give Day. Show your Aggie pride and support the college by backing one of our many transformative programs. You don’t have to wait until Picnic Day to fund an initiative. Learn more about our challenges and give early!

Nominations are now open for our CA&ES Award of Distinction. This is a chance to honor deserving alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the college who embody our values of excellence and service. Please submit your nominations by Friday, June 28. The Award of Distinction celebration is scheduled for October 17, 2024.

As we embrace the beauty of spring and the promise of new beginnings, let us also celebrate the spirit of discovery and community that flourishes on campus. Whether through engaging with the natural wonders of the Arboretum, participating in events that draw us together and celebrate our new admits, or supporting initiatives that pave the way for a brighter future, there's no better time to contribute to the vibrant tapestry of our college and UC Davis.

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