State of the Campus: ‘We Are Strong’ (and In Person)

Chancellor Gary S. May, smiling, at lectern
Gary S. May delivers opening remarks at his Chancellor’s Colloquium Feb. 24, hours after his in-person State of the Campus address. Just before coming on stage for the colloquium, he and the other panelists tested negative for COVID-19, using rapid tests. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The mere fact that Chancellor Gary S. May was able to deliver this year’s State of the Campus address in person further bolstered the optimism he expressed for the days ahead.

“I expect that we’ll see the campus return to more of the ‘normal’ that we know,” he told the Academic Senate’s Representative Assembly in his speech last Thursday (Feb. 24).


A year ago he gave his annual address to the Representative Assembly over Zoom. This year, he stood behind the lectern in the International Center’s multipurpose room, where the assembly had gathered for its quarterly meeting..

“The past year has been full of both triumphs and trying times,” the chancellor said. “But through all the challenges, our State of the Campus remains strong. We are moving forward with excellence and great ingenuity. We are moving forward with care for our UC Davis community and a mission to serve the greater good.”

In making his annual remarks to the senate’s representative body, the chancellor took the opportunity to commend the faculty for its adaptability and flexibility, guidance and collaboration, leadership and dedication.

“A lot has been asked of you since the pandemic began in 2020, often on short notice, but you never failed to deliver.”

He discussed the Davis campus’s slow and careful return to in-person instruction in winter quarter. “We continue to make decisions based on the science and public health guidelines we’ve been following from the beginning,” he said. “On matters related to remote instruction, we turned to the Academic Senate as our trusted partners in shared governance.”


  • Applications and enrollment — “Even during a pandemic, prospective students are deeply interested in UC Davis. ... I’d also note that in every fall since 2010, the Davis campus has enrolled the most California resident undergraduates in the UC system. For the fall of 2021, this number was 26,168.”
  • Rankings — Including Forbes’ designation of UC Davis as No. 4 among the nation’s public universities for — and here the chancellor quoted Forbes — “the most outstanding education to the broadest range of students at the most affordable price.”
  • Faculty honors — Including the International Wolf Prize in Agriculture (Pam Ronald), the O’Brien Award from Human Rights Educators USA (Keith Watenpaugh) and National Academy of Engineering (Kate Scow and Dan Sperling).
  • Revenue and budget — “The restoration of the 2020-21 state budget reduction and increased unallocated state funding in the current fiscal year has stabilized our core funds for the next several years. However, we must also continue to identify efficiencies and opportunities to generate net revenue for long-term financial sustainability.”
  • Aggie Square — “Here’s a big one. Last week we celebrated the groundbreaking of the first phase of Aggie Square. ... We look forward to Aggie Square’s future — as a home for transformative research from across the university, an innovation hub for industry partners and a collaborative place to engage students, entrepreneurs and the local community — creating a catalyst for economic change.”
  • Research awards — “UC Davis set a new record for research awards in 2020-21 with $968 million, which reflects about a 30% increase over the last 10 years.”
  • Philanthropy — “As of February 17th, more than 108,000 donors had contributed more than $1.54 billion to the Expect Greater campaign, with the goal of raising $2 billion by 2024. We are thrilled to be 77% to goal. It’s simply inspiring to see how much people want to support our university, especially in the midst of a pandemic.”
  • Diversity — “Our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is leading efforts across all locations. The university has engaged the entire campus community and is making progress by supporting students, faculty and staff, working to close opportunity gaps and improve campus climate, and investing in training, community and accountability.”
  • Sustainability — “I’m encouraged that UC Davis achieved a 40% reduction in our business operations-related greenhouse gas emissions since 2007. I believe we’re on track to meet the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative by 2025.” The chancellor also noted UC Davis’ No. 1 placement in North America for the sixth consecutive year in the GreenMetric World University rankings.

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Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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