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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 26 · Number 1 · Fall 2008

100 Ways
that UC Davis Has Transformed the World

Campus and student life


Serving while learning.

UC Davis professional students make a difference every day in the lives of Californians — providing medical care at five free clinics for underserved populations; legal representation for low-income people on civil rights, family law, prisoner rights and immigration law; and veterinary care for the pets of the homeless. In addition, management students offer consulting service to business, government and nonprofit organizations.


Economic powerhouse.

UC Davis contributes more than $3 billion each year to the California economy and returns $5 to California for every state dollar received.


Bike lanes.

Riding bicycles on the street used to be a much riskier activity in the days before bike lanes. In 1966, the community of Davis became a spokes model of sorts by creating the nation’s first designated bikeways. Behind the idea, design and testing were UC Davis faculty and administrators.


Athletic leader.

Student athletes and the UC Davis sports program have set the standard for the nation in numerous ways: The athletics program is one of the largest in the country, with some 800 student-athletes participating in 26 varsity sports, and with 30 student club sports and 36 intramural sports. The campus was recognized six times as the most successful in the country with the receipt of the Directors Cup from the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. UC Davis has had three NCAA Woman Athletes of the Year and was twice named No. 1 school in the nation for female athletes.


Writing matters.

UC Davis is one of a small number of universities that require writing courses for all students, not just English majors or those who require remedial writing help. The University Writing Program works to ensure that everyone who earns a UC Davis undergraduate degree, whether in math, music or science, can write about his or her field with clarity and style. The groundbreaking effort is capturing attention: U.S. News & World Report for the past two years has recognized the UC Davis undergraduate writing program for its excellence.


Arts showcase.

UC Davis enriches the lives of people in the region and beyond through arts, entertainment and cultural education programs. The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts brings world-class performing artists and distinguished speakers to the stage, serves as a teaching resource for the campus and introduces countless schoolchildren to the arts. The campus’s music and theatre departments present more than 100 events each year featuring the work of ensembles ranging from the Symphony Orchestra to the Gospel Choir and the dramatic talents of artists from all parts of the globe. Campus museums and galleries showcase a wide variety of art. And KDVS radio, run by students since its creation in 1964, brings diverse programming to its listeners on the air and online.


Olive center.

Plant and food scientists associated with the new UC Davis Olive Center are poised to do for olives and olive oil what the university did for grapes and wine. In investigating better methods of olive growing and processing, the scientists have plenty to work with: more than 2,000 olive trees in the campus landscape and research orchards (thought to be the most extensive collection in North America) and an up-and-coming olive oil business, with brand names like The Silo and Gunrock.


New sport.

Inner tube water polo was invented at UC Davis in 1969 by Intramural Director Gary Colberg who noticed just how fun — but hard — water polo was. It’s since caught on nationally, partly because it can be played by disabled persons.


Student legacy.

For the past 100 years, students have been changing the landscape of the campus and beyond. They helped develop the arboretum and numerous other campus improvement projects, established the student-run Coffee House, Unitrans bus service, Experimental College and Whole Earth Festival, and every year volunteer hundreds of thousands of hours of community service.


A world of alumni.

From the time the first students graduated in 1911, UC Davis alumni have been making their mark in the world — and beyond. Among their countless achievements are winning Olympic gold medals, directing Oscar-winning Disney films, heading UNICEF and flying through space as astronauts. With every year, the Aggie impact multiplies. From nine students in the 1911 class, our living alumni total has grown to 185,000.

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