A Family’s Legacy of Aggie Service and Pride

By Benjamin Ginsburg

For the McCapes family, bearing the title of “Aggies” is an honor, a privilege and a legacy. Their contributions to UC Davis – which span some 60 years – were recently honored at the Cal Aggie Alumni Association’s at Alumni Award Gala, which took place on February 3, 2017 at the University of California, Davis. Dick McCapes ’56, DVM ’58 and his late wife Marilyn ’55 received the 2017 Aggie Service Award in recognition of their exemplary Aggie pride and dedication to UC Davis.

The McCapes have experienced almost every possible aspect of UC Davis. In more than six decades as Aggies, they have been students, alumni, faculty, staff, retirees, volunteers and CAAA Life Members. The McCapes are also Aggie parents; out of their five children, two are third generation Aggies. Marilyn’s father Colby “Babe” Slater ’17 was also UC Davis’ first Olympic gold medalist, winning for rugby in 1920 and leading the United States Olympic Rugby Team to victory again in 1924. 

“The Aggie legacy is strong in the McCapes family and will continue to be strong in future generations,” said Dick. “Being Aggies has been a major part of our lives. Meeting and knowing the people we have worked with over the years and witnessing their accomplishments has made this award possible. We thank them and the alumni association for this.”

In 1970, Dick was invited to become associate dean for public programs of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and later served as chair of the school’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. Marilyn also went out of her way to serve the UC Davis community as president and a long-time board member of University Farm Circle as well as president of the Prytanean Women’s Honors Society. Both served as Picnic Day Parade Marshals in 2013. Dick, a former member of the CAAA board of directors, continues to support UC Davis, including through gifts to the Shields Library, Intercollegiate Athletics, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the men’s rugby club. 

“Being an Aggie is kind of like being an American,” said Dick. “You’re part of a great group of alumni, students and future students brought together under this name, a name that fits the legacy of our campus. UC Davis’ influence stretches far beyond our strong roots in agriculture; even our astronauts are proud to be Aggies in space.”

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