University of California Davis

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The University of California, Davis, commonly known as UC Davis, is one of the ten University of California campuses. It is located in Davis, California, about fifteen miles (24 km) west of Sacramento in California's Central Valley. As of Fall 2004, it had a total student enrollment of 30,065 with over 147,000 degreed alumni.

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What was to become the seventh UC Campus opened its doors to 40 degree students (all male) from UC Berkeley in January 1909 as the "University Farm." (The farm had begun accepting non-degree farmers' short courses in October of 1908; there were initially around 115 such attendees.) The establishment of the Farm was largely the result of the vision and perseverance of Peter J. Shields, secretary of the State Agricultural Society, and the namesake of UC Davis' Peter J. Shields Library. He began to champion the cause of a University Farm to teach agriculture in a more applied fashion after hearing about Californian students who chose to go to out-of-state universities due to the lack of such a program in the University of California at that time. He later stated:

"There was a College of Agriculture at Berkeley in connection with the University of California, but it was purely academic. It was largely confined to the study of botany and chemistry; it had no farm and little prestige; it was apt to be thought of as a snap curriculum, attracting students who wanted to go to college but wanted to avoid its more difficult work."

After two failed bills, a law authorizing the creation of a University Farm was passed in March 18 1905, and Yolo County, home to some of California's prime farmland, was chosen as the site. The Farm accepted its first female students in 1914 from Berkeley. Renamed in 1922 the Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture, it continued growing at a breakneck pace: in 1916 the Farm's 314 students occupied the original 778 acre (3 km²) campus, but by 1951 it had already expanded to a size of 3,000 acres (12 km²). In 1959, the campus was declared by the Regents of the University of California as the seventh general campus in the University of California system. It has since grown into a vibrant and politically active campus.



The office of Chancellor was begun in 1958 when Provost Stanley B. Freeborn was promoted to Chancellor as part of a major reorganization of the UC system by UC President Robert Gordon Sproul:

Colleges and Professional Schools


UC Davis is a top research university, ranked 16th among public universities nationwide by the National Research Council and 11th among public universities nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. It is a member of the Association of American Universities.

According to the National Science Foundation, UC Davis spent $456,653,000 on research and development in the fiscal year 2002-2003, ranking it 14th in the nation. Specifically, UC Davis's expenditures nationally ranked first in agricultural research ($25,683,000), seventh in biological research ($45,283,000), and 13th in the life sciences ($336,796,000).

Its faculty includes 18 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 6 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 7 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 2 MacArthur Fellows.

While the broad academic spectrum of UC Davis is rich in the arts as well as the sciences, the university's agricultural tradition is still proudly upheld. The well-known Department of Viticulture and Enology (i.e., concerning the scientific study of grape-growing and winemaking) is responsible for significant advancements in winemaking utilized by many Californian wineries. The campus is noted for its Agricultural and Resource Economics programs, and the large Department of Animal Science through which students can study at the university's own on-campus dairy, meat-processing plant, equestrian facility, and experimental farm. Students of Environmental Horticulture and other botanical sciences have many acres of campus farmland and the University of California, Davis, Arboretum at their disposal.

The university also has world-class faculty in the arts and letters and a large and diverse College of Engineering. The Department of Applied Science was founded and formerly chaired by physicist Edward Teller. Studio arts, theatre, and dance are studied extensively on the campus, and the new Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts features artists from all over the globe.

UC Davis has an excellent reputation in graduate studies and has several professional schools, including the state of California's only school of veterinary medicine and the schools of law, medicine, and education.

Sports, clubs, traditions, and student activities

The "See No Evil/Hear No Evil" sculpture on the east lawn of King Hall is one of five "eggheads" found around campus.

After finishing first in NCAA Division II six times in 2003 and winning the NACDA Director's Cup 4 years in a row from 1999 to 2003, the UC Davis Aggies (or Ags) are currently in the four-year process of transitioning to NCAA Division I-AA. The highlight of the transition came September 17, 2005, when the Aggies defeated the heavily favored Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium by a score of 20-17 on a TD pass with 8 seconds left in the game. (The Aggies will be members of the Great West Football Conference for football and the Big West Conference for other sports.) The Aggie football team plays California State University, Sacramento in the annual Causeway Classic for the Causeway Carriage.

The official school colors are yale blue and gold, and the official mascot is a mustang. Students at UC Davis are referred to as Cal Aggies in honor of the school's agricultural heritage. Unlike most colleges, there is a distinction between the name for students and the mascot. Many people will call the mustang mascot of UC Davis an aggie, but this is incorrect. There was a movement to change the school's mascot from the mustang to the dairy cow, but despite student support, this was turned down after opposition from the alumni. The mustang mascot dates to 1921 when the US Army brought a horse named Gunrock to UC Davis to supply high-quality stock for cavalry horses. The mustang mascot was selected to honor that cavalry horse. UC Davis students gather at sporting events to form the Aggie Pack, the largest student-run school spirit organization in the United States. The Aggie Pack cheers on the sports team to the music of the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! and its alumni band.

Another attraction of UC Davis is its student-run freeform radio station, KDVS. The station began operations on February 1, 1964 from the laundry room of the all-male dormitory Beckett Hall. The station soon gained a reputation by airing interviews with Angela Davis and a live call-in show with then California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969. The station can now be heard on 90.3 FM.

UC Davis has some 300 registered student organizations and an active fraternity and sorority community. One sorority, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, was featured on the first season of the MTV reality show "Sorority Life."


UC Davis is famous for its large number of bicycles and bicyclists. The city of Davis boasts over two bikes per capita, more than any other U.S. city. Bicyclists are ubiquitous around campus, and thus a lot of bike-only infrastructure exists, such as bike circles, large bike lanes, and traffic signals exclusively for bikes. Davis also has bike police, who, among other things, give tickets for bicycling under the influence (BUI). All bikes on the UC Davis campus must be registered with a California Bicycle license.

UC Davis is also well known for its bus service, Unitrans, and their trademark London double decker buses. It has been in operation since 1968 and is believed to be the only general purpose (non-sightseeing) transit system in the U.S. to operate vintage double deck buses in daily service. The system is operated and managed entirely by students and offers fixed-route transportation throughout the city.

UC Davis is bounded by freeways on two sides (Highway 113 and Interstate 80). All other UC campuses are either somewhat distant from the closest freeway or are directly adjacent to only one freeway.

Easy freeway access, coupled with increasing housing costs in the city of Davis, have led to increased numbers of students commuting via automobile. Some students choose to live in the neighboring communities of Dixon or Woodland, and use their own cars or the county-wide Yolobus to get to UC Davis.

Notable current and past faculty members

Notable alumni

Points of interest

External links

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