To the UC Davis Community,
Happy New Year and welcome to winter quarter!
After a busy 2022, I hope you’ve all had the chance to rest, reconnect with loved ones and stay safe in our recent weather. The storms created real challenges and impacted many of us significantly at the start of the new year.
Despite these weather events, we’re beginning the new year and winter quarter on a positive note. I was pleased that UC and employees affiliated with the United Auto Workers were able to reach agreements in late December. I’m thankful to Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg for his help in serving as a mediator and bringing resolution to the nearly six-week strike.
I’m grateful to the UC Davis community for their patience during this time, especially our students who were anxious about grades being posted. A vast majority of instructors of record submitted grades by the December 28 deadline and their dedication is deeply appreciated. For those students who are still seeing NGs (no grade) on their Student Records, this is temporary and we’re working diligently to have them replaced by final grades in a timely manner. Please see Monday’s letter from Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan for more information about the strike’s impact on fall grading.
2023 is shaping up to be another impactful and bustling year. We’ll be celebrating some major milestones, including the 75th anniversary of UC Davis veterinary medicine in May. The 1st of July will mark the 50th anniversary of UC Davis’ purchase of the Sacramento Medical Center — now the UC Davis Medical Center — and its surrounding campus from Sacramento County. That was the official start of our School of Medicine’s teaching hospital.
UC Davis continues to be a role model and leader for sustainable universities, both in our research and in how we operate. For the seventh year in a row, UC Davis holds the No. 1 spot in the nation in UI GreenMetric World University Rankings. UC Davis ranked No. 5 among the world’s universities — marking the 10th year in a row that we’ve been in the top 10 globally.
As we return to campus, let’s remain vigilant about our health as COVID-19, flu and other illnesses continue to impact our communities. We hope all of you took an antigen test for COVID-19 immediately before your return to campus, and that you are testing again within a week of your return. COVID-19 testing kits are available at a wider number of campus locations starting this month, including the Memorial Union Information Desk, the front desks at the ARC and Shields Library, and within student housing facilities.
Now’s a good time to mark your calendars for upcoming events and Aggie traditions.
On February 22 I’m hosting the next Chancellor’s Colloquium, a free event that features a conversation with some of the day’s most thoughtful and creative minds. My next guest will be Sister Simone Campbell, an alum from the UC Davis School of Law, Class of 1977, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. Please stay tuned for ticket information and join the conversation.
Spring will be especially joyful as we welcome the 109th edition of Picnic Day on April 15. This year’s theme is “Ignite Our Moment,” which highlights the passion that our students have for UC Davis and the community. The Whole Earth Festival will also transform our Quad May 12 through 14 for a weekend of music and merriment, all with a focus on sustainability and wellness.
We’ll celebrate the class of 2023 with spring undergraduate commencement in a new venue: the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The ceremonies will be held June 16 through 18; more information will be available later in the winter quarter.
Be my shadow
Consider applying for a program that’s near and dear to me. For undergraduate and graduate students, applications are available now through Sunday (January 15) for the UC Davis Leadership Job Shadow Program. The program invites students to spend a day with a senior campus executive, including me, to see first-hand how decisions are made and share their experiences online.
I encourage everyone to maximize the opportunities that UC Davis provides. There’s something for everyone here. I urge you to attend events, seek out resources and explore our city.
Finally, for all the promise of the days ahead, I’d like to acknowledge the stresses that come with this time of year. The weather has been especially rough, some of us might feel exhausted from holiday traveling, and it can be challenging to get back into our study and work grooves after a long break. The recent storms impacted campus and we’re feeling the loss of some old and majestic trees that were uprooted.
We’re here to support your well-being through the Aggie Mental Health Initiative. The initiative is the result of a collaboration between students, mental health experts and clinicians, with program funding by the University of California Equity in Mental Health program. It’s anchored by a website that includes a wealth of resources and guidance for supporting friends and loved ones. Please reach out if you are in need.
As we move through the quarter, let’s remember our Principles of Community, which guide us to value the many perspectives, identities, backgrounds and experiences that contribute to UC Davis’ vibrancy.
Happy New Year, and Go Ags!
Gary S. May