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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 26 · Number 1 · Fall 2008

100 Ways
that UC Davis Has Transformed the World

When the campus was dedicated in 1907, Edward Wickson, dean of the College of Agriculture, said in a speech, “We expect to realize for the University of California the greatest institution for agricultural research and instruction in the world.... Three things are necessary ... men, money and time for them to work together for results.”

Now 100 years later, time, men and women, and public, private and philanthropic dollars have indeed turned UC Davis into an agricultural powerhouse. But over that century, it has become so much more.

Photo: Seal caught in a net

UC Davis has headed the cleanup of more than 10 tons of lost fishing gear to make the coastal ocean safer for wildlife, such as seals and gulls.

The campus transformed itself over the past 10 decades, adding first veterinary medicine, then letters and sciences, and eventually so many disciplines that it became the most diverse of all UC campuses. Its strengths in agriculture served as bedrock for it to go on to become a leader in modern biology; its longstanding dedication to environmental stewardship has broadened to include expertise in energy, transportation, pollution. Excellence appeared in every corner, including some unexpected areas of strength, like studio art and environmental literature.

And as the campus transformed itself, it transformed the world, serving as an engine for innovation and for ideas that have improved the quality of life for people everywhere.

Today UC Davis stretches into the Sacramento region, where its health system serves 6 million residents and provides the area’s only Level 1 trauma center, and then beyond to centers from Bodega Bay, to Tulare and Tahoe and on to Washington, D.C. The campus then reaches out to the world, with nearly half of our faculty involved in international activities, and our alumni — some 185,000 of them now — spreading the campus’s impact to every continent.

There is truly no way to comprehend the campus’s actual effect, as the result of its research and teaching spreads in ripple fashion over time and distance. But we have made an attempt to highlight a few — 100 to be exact — of the ways UC Davis has transformed the world. We’ve taken the 100 items we listed in the print edition of UC Davis Magazine and organized them here according to discipline. You can explore them by clicking on the links in the box at the right. We recognize that this is just a sampling of the campus’s contributions and that we’ve surely overlooked accomplishments that should have been included. (Spot something important that we’ve missed? E-mail us at

Among these 100 are some whose true impact is yet to be realized. The future — with new challenges of mindboggling complexity, from global warming to energy depletion, from cultural understanding to modern disease threats — will call upon the campus’s many interdisciplinary strengths. But most certainly UC Davis will rise to the challenge and continue to deliver results, touching everything that matters most.