November 2016

Dear fellow Aggies,

I am eager to share with you some uplifting UC Davis news of late that fills me with pride.

First, I would like to draw your attention to two stories that beautifully capture the type of transformative educational experiences this university can provide. The stories, which have sparked considerable interest, chronicle a group of UC Davis students and their professors on a river journey of science, education and discovery through Arizona’s Grand Canyon. You can follow the group on the first leg of their 225-mile rafting trip last spring in this spectacular online series by our Office of Strategic Communications’ Kat Kerlin and Joe Proudman.

I like to think that our university offers life-changing experiences, and it is wonderful to hear from students who have been so moved. Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton captured those sentiments during the second half of the 18-day Colorado River trip. I encourage you to listen to her story, “It Takes a River.”

In other good news, I am happy to report that UC Davis scored first in plant and animal sciences in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Global Universities” report issued October 24. The rankings, which focus on overall research and academic reputation, placed us second in the world in agricultural sciences and fourth in environment and ecology. Overall, UC Davis stands at No. 42 in the world among the 1,000 institutions in 65 countries included in the latest rankings. 

UC Davis is clearly on the rise. You can see it, physically, as you walk or bike about campus. We made a number of impressive additions this fall, including the Ann E. Pitzer Center classroom and recital hall and the new International Center on Russell Boulevard. Also, the Memorial Union renovation is progressing nicely and our remodeled and expanded campus store is wonderful. I recently shopped there for more UC Davis gear to wear to our sporting events     

The real show-stopper though is the new Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. The museum opens Sunday, November 13, with a 10 a.m. celebration under the museum’s grand canopy and a birthday tribute for renowned painters Wayne Thiebaud and Roland Petersen. Doors open at noon for all to enjoy. If you would like a preview, take a look at the videos here. The museum itself is a fabulous work of art. One of its architects, Florian Idenburg, will be our distinguished speaker at the Chancellor’s Colloquium on December 8.

Alumni are important ambassadors of UC Davis in sharing our successes with others. Thank you spreading the good news!


Ralph J. Hexter
Interim Chancellor