A Message From the Dean - September 2018

Dean Helene Dillard poses with students from the Draft Horse and Driving Club at the 2017 College Celebration.
Dean Helene Dillard poses with students from the Draft Horse and Driving Club at the 2017 College Celebration.

Signs of the season: a new academic year and College Celebration

The relative calm of summer in Davis has quickly given way to the hustle and bustle of our students, staff and faculty gearing up for a new academic year. We welcome everyone back and look forward to the excitement, discovery, and connections this change in seasons brings.

The student population at UC Davis, and in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, continues its incremental growth. Although the numbers are preliminary, we do have a general idea of how the college will grow. In fall 2017, we had an incoming class of 2022 students—1142 freshmen and 880 transfers. For the 2018 fall quarter, we expect more than 2050 new freshmen and transfer students, with the increase weighted more on the freshmen side at 1200 students. 

UC Davis is a draw for prospective students for many reasons. In addition to the fact that this is a beautiful campus with a friendly atmosphere, people know they’re going to get a first-rate college experience at a major research university in the land-grant tradition. That means they can expect to find opportunities to learn about and learn how to approach problem solving with esteemed faculty members addressing issues in food and agriculture, the environment, and social and human sciences. 

We deliver on that promise, and higher education rankings reflect that. We are #1 in agriculture, plant sciences, animal science, forestry, and most recently, agricultural economics. We also are ranked among the top 7 in 9 other subjects: horticulture, biodiversity education, ecology, toxicology, environmental sciences, soil science, agronomy, entomology, and nutrition. Faculty in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology were ranked #1 in the nation for research productivity and impact. The Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering is recognized as one of the best of its kind in the world.

Whatever course of study our new freshman and transfer students choose, we are excited for them and expect this will be another great year for our college. 

Another hallmark of the season is College Celebration, which began 30 years ago as a way to recognize individuals who have helped the college thrive and grow. Over the years we have given our highest honor, the Award of Distinction, to dozens of alumni, friends, faculty and staff to recognize their accomplishments in service to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Indulge yourself in a little nostalgia and take a look at our hall-of-fame list of past Award of Distinction recipients. It’s sure to trigger a memory or two that you can share at the 30th annual College Celebration coming up October 12.

Please join us as we honor the 2018 recipients: 

  • Ernest Farley (alumni)
  • Payam Zamani (alumni)
  • Kimberly Stackhouse-Lawson (young alumni)
  • Paul R. Bonderson Jr. (friend)
  • Leland H. “Lee” Ruth (friend)
  • Charles Bamforth (faculty)
  • James Seiber (emeriti faculty)
  • Kimberly Mahoney (staff)

This is our signature event—a gathering of friends, colleagues and students that attendees will remember for a long time. Come enjoy a delicious spread of hors d'oeuvres along with California wines and beer, and then at the end of the evening, take home a bag full of California-grown fruits, vegetables and grains and other items that have been graciously donated by our friends in the agricultural community. Or you can donate your Farmers Market bag to The Pantry, a student-run organization that provides UC Davis students who are in need with free food. College Celebration is a huge success because of the generosity of our college supporters and the hard work of our staff. Thank you!

To learn more and register, please visit the College Celebration website. Festivities get underway at 5:30 p.m. in the ARC Pavilion. I hope to see you there!