University of California, Davis

The University of California, Davis, commonly abbreviated to Cal Aggie, UC Davis, or simply 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 began 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 eponym 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, with noted protests during the Vietnam War years.



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 10th 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 famous 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

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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. (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, also named Gunrock, 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 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 was featured on the first season of the MTV reality show "Sorority Life."


UC Davis is well known for its many forms of transportation. This is partly because cars are expensive to run in Northern California due to high gas prices, and because freshman students aren't allowed to purchase on-campus parking permits. As a result, students are provided many different forms of transportation to suit their needs.

UC Davis is famous for its large number of bicyclists. The city of Davis boasts over two bikes per capita, the most of any 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 a bike police, which among other things, gives tickets for bicycling under the influence (BUI). All bikes on the UC Davis campus must also be registered with a California Bicycle license, available for $8 from various bike stores; the license is good for up to three years, with a $4 renewal also good for three years.

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

UC Davis is the only UC campus to have excellent freeway access in that it 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.

This freeway access, coupled with higher housing costs, has 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. Most student commuters move away from their homes and stay their first year in the dorms of UC Davis and move to surrounding areas after that. Most commuter students in the Sacramento area attend California State University, Sacramento.

Notable faculty

Notable alumni

Points of interest

External links

  • University of California, Davis ( - Official Web site
  • UC Davis Facts ( - Student population statistics
  • Davis Wiki ( - The Wiki for Davis
  • The California Aggie ( - Primary Newspaper of UC Davis
  • Davis Coeds ( - Online Community for UCD Students
  • SisCast ( - Class Planner for UCD Students
  • UC Davis History ( - History of UC Davis
  • UC Davis Aggies ( - Official site of UC Davis athletics

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