University of California, Davis

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University of California, Davis
The Seal of the University of California, Davis (UC Davis)
MottoFiat lux (Latin)
Motto in EnglishLet there be light
Established1905 (1959 as a general UC campus)
TypePublic, Land-grant, Space-grant
Endowment$790.1 million (2013)[1]
ChancellorLinda P.B. Katehi
ProvostRalph Hexter
Academic staff2,236 (2011-12)[2]
Admin. staff20,812 (2011-12)[2]
Students34,155 (Fall 2013)[3]
Undergraduates26,693 (Fall 2013)[3]
Postgraduates4,200 (Fall 2013l)[3]
Doctoral students3,252 (Fall 2013)
LocationDavis, California, United States
38°32′24″N 121°45′0″W / 38.54000°N 121.75000°W / 38.54000; -121.75000Coordinates: 38°32′24″N 121°45′0″W / 38.54000°N 121.75000°W / 38.54000; -121.75000
CampusSuburban, 7,309 acres (2,958 ha) [4]
Former namesUniversity Farm (1905–1922)
Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture (1922–1959)
NewspaperThe California Aggie
ColorsAggie Blue and Gold         
AthleticsNCAA Division I
23 Varsity Sports[5]
MascotGunrock the Mustang
AffiliationsUniversity of California
Big West Conference
Big Sky Conference
Ucdavis logo 5 blue.png
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University of California, Davis
The Seal of the University of California, Davis (UC Davis)
MottoFiat lux (Latin)
Motto in EnglishLet there be light
Established1905 (1959 as a general UC campus)
TypePublic, Land-grant, Space-grant
Endowment$790.1 million (2013)[1]
ChancellorLinda P.B. Katehi
ProvostRalph Hexter
Academic staff2,236 (2011-12)[2]
Admin. staff20,812 (2011-12)[2]
Students34,155 (Fall 2013)[3]
Undergraduates26,693 (Fall 2013)[3]
Postgraduates4,200 (Fall 2013l)[3]
Doctoral students3,252 (Fall 2013)
LocationDavis, California, United States
38°32′24″N 121°45′0″W / 38.54000°N 121.75000°W / 38.54000; -121.75000Coordinates: 38°32′24″N 121°45′0″W / 38.54000°N 121.75000°W / 38.54000; -121.75000
CampusSuburban, 7,309 acres (2,958 ha) [4]
Former namesUniversity Farm (1905–1922)
Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture (1922–1959)
NewspaperThe California Aggie
ColorsAggie Blue and Gold         
AthleticsNCAA Division I
23 Varsity Sports[5]
MascotGunrock the Mustang
AffiliationsUniversity of California
Big West Conference
Big Sky Conference
Ucdavis logo 5 blue.png

The University of California, Davis (also referred to as UCD, UC Davis, or Davis), is a public teaching and research university located in Davis, California, just west of Sacramento. The campus covers 7,309 acres (2,958 ha), making it the largest within the 10 campus University of California system. UC Davis also has the third largest enrollment in the UC System after UCLA and UC Berkeley.[4]

Howard and Matthew Greene named UC Davis a Public Ivy in 2001, a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.[6] In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked UC Davis as the 9th best public university in the United States, 39th nationally, and tied for 3rd best of the UC schools with UC San Diego, following UC Berkeley and UCLA.[7] UC Davis is also one of 62 members in the Association of American Universities.

The Carnegie Foundation classifies UC Davis as a comprehensive doctoral research university with a medical program, and very high research activity.[8] UC Davis faculty includes 21 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 17 members of the American Law Institute, 12 members of the Institute of Medicine, and 13 members of the National Academy of Engineering.[9] Among other honors, university faculty, alumni, and researchers have won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Fellowship, National Medal of Science, and Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering.[9][10]

While UC Davis' agricultural heritage remains strong, the campus has expanded over the past century to include graduate and professional programs in medicine (which includes the UC Davis Medical Center), law, veterinary medicine, education, nursing, and business management, in addition to 90 research programs offered by UC Davis Graduate Studies. UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine is the largest in the United States and is ranked second in the nation.[11]

The UC Davis Aggies athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division I level, primarily in the Big West Conference as well as the Big Sky Conference (Football only) and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. In its first year of full Division I status, 11 UC Davis teams qualified for NCAA post-season competition.


Early creamery and horticulture buildings, University Farm
The Silo Union, one of the original buildings

In 1905, the California legislature passed the University Farm Bill, which called for the establishment of a farm school for the University of California (at the time, Berkeley was the sole campus of the university).[12] It would be more than a year before that commission selected a tiny town, then known as Davisville, as the site.[12] What was to become the third UC campus opened its doors to 40 degree students (all male) from UC Berkeley in January 1909 as the "University Farm". (The farm had begun accepting non-degree farmers' short courses in October 1908; there were initially around 115 such attendees.) The establishment of the Farm was largely the result of the vision and perseverance of Peter J. Shields, secretary of the State Agricultural Society, and the Peter J. Shields Library at UC Davis was named in his honor. Shields began to champion the cause of a University Farm to teach agriculture in a more applied fashion after hearing about California students who chose to go to out-of-state universities due to the lack of such programs in the University of California at that time. He later stated:

There was a College of Agriculture at Berkeley in connection with the University of California, but it was purely academic. It was largely confined to the study of botany and chemistry; it had no farm and little prestige; it was apt to be thought of as a snap curriculum, attracting students who wanted to go to college but wanted to avoid its more difficult work.

After two failed bills, a law authorizing the creation of a University Farm was passed on March 18, 1905, and Yolo County, home to some of California's prime farmland, was chosen as the site. A committee appointed by the Regents purchased land near Davisville (now Davis) in 1906. The Regents officially took control of the property in September 1906 and constructed four buildings in 1907. The Farm accepted its first female students in 1914 from Berkeley.

Short courses were first offered in 1908 and a three year non-degree program set up in 1909. In 1911, the first class graduated from the University Farm. The three year non-degree program continued until 1923. At that time, a two year non-degree program began and continued until 1958. In 1922, a four year undergraduate program began with the first class graduating in 1926. [13]

Renamed in 1922 the Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture, it continued growing at a breakneck pace: in 1916 the Farm's 314 students occupied the original 778 acres (315 ha) campus, but by 1951 it had already expanded to a size of 3,000 acres (1,200 ha). In 1959, the campus was declared by the Regents of the University of California as the seventh general campus in the University of California system.

Davis' own Graduate Division was established in 1961 followed by the College of Engineering in 1962. The Law School opened for classes in Fall 1966 and the School of Medicine began instruction in Fall 1968.

2011 pepper spray incident[edit]

During a protest against tuition hikes on November 18, 2011, a campus police officer, Lieutenant John Pike, used pepper spray on seated students because they wouldn't move. The incident drew international attention and led to further demonstrations, a formal investigation, and Pike's departure in July 2012.[14][15][16]


A view of Mrak Hall from the arboretum

Size and location[edit]

The University of California, Davis campus is the largest campus in the UC system by land area, spanning 7,309 acres (2,957.8 ha) across two counties: Yolo and Solano. Though named after the City of Davis, the campus is technically located adjacent to the City of Davis in an unincorporated part of Yolo and Solano counties. The main campus is located 15 miles (24.1 km) west of Sacramento in the Sacramento Valley, part of California's Central Valley, and is adjacent to Interstate Highway 80. The Davis campus is the only school within the UC system with an airport, just west of main campus, and is one of two UC schools with its own fire department; the other being UC Santa Cruz. The campus is also conveniently located approximately an hour away from both San Francisco and the Napa Valley and two hours from Lake Tahoe. It is also one of only three schools in the University of California system, the others being UC Berkeley and UC Irvine, with a nuclear lab.

The city of Davis is a college town, with the ratio of students to long term residents estimated at 1:4. Also contributing to the college-town environment is the close proximity of downtown Davis to the campus' main quad—a matter of a few blocks, and 5-10 minute walk or bike ride. Davis' 15 minute distance from Sacramento provides it with both the isolation critical to fostering a college-town environment while also providing a lively and large metropolitan area nearby. Though the campus itself is vast, the entire community of Davis is relatively small and is easily traversable on bike utilizing Davis' extensive bicycle trails.

Campus Core/Quad[edit]

Towards the northeast end of campus is the Quad, a large rectangular field, which was the historic geographic center of campus. Earlier in the campus' history, the few campus buildings surrounded the four sides of the Quad. Today, though the campus has grown significantly and the geographic center of campus has shifted, the Quad remains the center of campus life, anchored to the north by the Memorial Union (student union), to the south by Shields Library and to the West and Southeast by Wellman and Olson Halls respectively.

The Memorial Union Complex houses Freeborn Hall and the Memorial Union, which houses various establishments such as the UC Davis Bookstore, ASUCD Coffee House (Coho), ASUCD student government offices, Post Office, the MU Games Area (video games and bowling alley), KDVS student radio station, study lounges, Campus Copies, Picnic Day Office, the Center for Student Involvement Office, and AggieTV Student Television.

The northeast side of campus holds more of the core buildings that were built earlier in UC Davis's history, such as Wellman Hall, Shields Library, Mrak Hall, and Hutchison Hall, as well as the North Entry Parking Structure. Also notable in this northeastern corner is the labyrinthine Social Sciences and Humanities building designed by Antoine Predock, known to students as the "Death Star" for its angular, metallic design.

South Main Campus and South Campus[edit]

The majority of Equestrian Center, and Animal Sciences buildings are located near the Arboretum Waterway, away from the core campus; the West Entry Parking Complex, the Silo Union, and the newly constructed Science Lecture Hall and the Science Laboratory Building are located nearer to the Tercero residence halls and the core of campus. The Mondavi Center, home of the University Symphony Orchestra and other cultural events, is also located near the Tercero complex.

Situated at the southernmost part of campus along Old Davis road are assorted laboratories for the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the California Raptor Center, and the Center for Health & Environment.

West Campus[edit]

For most of UC Davis' history, West Campus has served primarily as agricultural research land. Recently, portions were developed through a $300 million public-private partnership to form the largest zero net energy community in the United States, known as UC Davis West Village.[17] West Village will provide housing for 3,000 students, faculty and staff and will help the university recruit and retain top faculty. The project will include 662 apartments, 343 single-family homes, 42,500 square feet of commercial space, a recreation center and study facilities. West Village will also host the first community college on a UC campus.

The classes held in this area mainly involve plant sciences, but also include entomology courses as well. Students in the plant sciences maintain gardens as part of the PLS 5 lab while Entomology 156L and 158 students embark on field trips to sample fish for parasites at Putah Creek and conduct projects in forensic entomology at the UC Davis ecosystem, respectively.

West Campus is also home to the University Airport, Foundation Plant Services, the California National Primate Research Center, and the Contained Research Facility, a bio-safety level 3 facility.


To the south side of the campus core is the 100 acre UC Davis Arboretum, which includes 3.5 miles of paved paths, 4,000 tree specimens, Putah Creek and Lake Spafford.


There are five public art statues found around campus, collectively called The Egghead Series, sculpted by former art professor Robert Arneson who taught at Davis from 1962-1991 before his death in 1992. Additional pieces of Arneson's work are part of the Fine Arts Collection maintained by the Richard L. Nelson Gallery located in the Art Building.

Bookhead is located at the Shields Library plaza, Yin & Yang is located at the Fine Arts Complex, See No Evil/Hear No Evil is at the east lawn of King Hall (the main building for UC Davis' School of Law), Eye on Mrak (FatalLaff) is outside Mrak Hall (housing the registrar office and other administrative offices), and Stargazer is located between North Hall and Young Hall. The Yin & Yang egg heads have been recast and duplicated for installation near the Port of San Francisco Ferry Building in San Francisco.[18]

Student housing[edit]

The northwest end of campus holds the majority of the Segundo undergraduate housing complex and various alternative non-undergraduate housing such as Orchard Park, Solano Park, Russell Park, and The Colleges at LaRue Apartments. The Activities and Recreation Center, or the ARC, is also located near the Segundo complex. Adjacent to the northwest corner of campus is the Cuarto undergraduate housing complex, which has one dining common.

The Tercero undergraduate housing complex is located near the true geographic center of the UC Davis campus, to the north of the Arboretum Waterway, which stretches longitudinally through almost the entirety of the south end of campus. The Davis Arboretum is a public botanic garden with over 4,000 kinds of trees and plants, including many California native plants, that stretches for over 100 acres (40 ha) along The Waterway.

The Cuarto undergraduate (freshmen and transfer students) housing complex is located just one block off-campus, across Russell Boulevard. Unlike the other undergraduate housing complexes, Cuarto is located within city limits qualifying its residents to vote in city elections (other on-campus students can only vote in county elections).

Student demographics[edit]

Ethnic enrollment,
African American723 (3%)76 (2%)72 (2%)871 (2.7%)
Native American171 (1%)33 (1%)16 (0%)220 (0.7%)
Asian American and
Pacific Islander
9,743 (40%)498 (12%)858 (26%)11,099 (34.5%)
Hispanic and
Latino American
3,337 (14%)231 (5%)234 (7%)3,802 (11.8%)
White8,693 (35%)1,972 (47%)1,514 (46%)12,179 (37.9%)
International, Other1,988 (8%)1,405 (34%)589 (18%)3982 (12.4%)
Total24,655 (76.7%)4,215 (13.1%)3,283 (10.2%)32,153 (100%)

In 2010, the United States Census Bureau made UC Davis its own separate census-designated place for statistical purposes.[20] Most of the campus lies outside the Davis city limit. However, mail to the campus is still addressed, "Davis, CA".

Organization and administration[edit]

The entire University of California system is governed by The Regents, a 26-member board, as established under Article IX, Section 9 of the California Constitution.[21] The board appoints the university's principal officers including the system-wide president and UC Davis Chancellor.

The UC Davis Chancellor, Linda Katehi, has overall responsibility for the leadership, management, and administration of the campus and reports to the President of the University of California system, a position currently held by former Secretary of Homeland Security and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.

The Offices of the Chancellor and Provost is headed by the Executive Vice-Chancellor and Provost (EVCP). In their capacity as Executive Vice-Chancellor, the EVCP shares with the Chancellor in the overall leadership and management of campus administration and operations, whereas as Provost, the EVCP is UC Davis' chief academic officer.

The Senior Staff provides executive support to the Offices of the Chancellor and Provost. The Council of Deans and Vice-Chancellor consists of the heads of the university's major academic and administrative units.[22]

Students are most likely to interact with or be directly affected by the Office of Student Affairs, which is run by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, currently Fred Wood, and by a variety of associate and assistant vice-chancellors. This office oversees many campus units including: Admissions, Athletics, Campus Recreation, Campus Unions, Counseling and Psychological Services, Financial Aid, Student Housing and others.[23]


The university has 99 undergraduate majors and 90 graduate programs.[24] It has a Department of Viticulture and Enology (concerning the scientific study of grape-growing and winemaking) that has been and continues to be responsible for significant advancements in winemaking utilized by many Californian wineries. The campus is noted for its top-rated Agricultural and Resource Economics programs [25] and the large Department of Animal Science through which students can study at the university's own on-campus dairy, meat-processing plant, equestrian facility, and experimental farm. Students of Environmental Horticulture and other botanical sciences have many acres of campus farmland and the University of California, Davis, Arboretum at their disposal. The Department of Applied Science was founded and formerly chaired by physicist Edward Teller. The arts are also studied extensively on campus with subjects such as studio art, design, music, theater and dance. The Design Department at UC Davis is the only comprehensive academic design unit of the University of California system.[26] There is also the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts which features artists from all over the globe.

UC Davis undergraduate majors are divided into four colleges:

UC Davis has the following graduate and professional schools, the most in the entire UC system :

The university is host to the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, with more than 120 cadets. With more than sixty years in existence, it currently commissions roughly 30 to 40 graduating seniors as second lieutenants every year.[27]


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[30]39
Washington Monthly[31]17

UC Davis is considered a Public Ivy. In 2014, U.S. News and World Report ranked UC Davis as the 9th best public university in the United States, 39th nationally, and tied for 3rd best of the UC schools with UC San Diego, following UC Berkeley and UCLA.[7] Washington Monthly ranked UC Davis 17th in its 2012 National College Ranking based on the school's contributions to society.[35] In 2013, Forbes ranked UC Davis as 99th overall in the nation and 23rd among public colleges.[36] In 2013 Kiplinger ranked UC Davis 23rd out of the top 100 best-value public colleges and universities in the nation, and 6th in California[37] while The Princeton Review placed it 14th among U.S colleges for "Best Value Colleges" in 2012.[38] According to the 2011-2012 Top 50 Colleges and Universities in America published by The Best Colleges, UC Davis is ranked 27th nationally and 2nd among the UCs after UC Berkeley.[39]

The university has several distinguished graduate programs ranked in the top 10 in their fields by the United States National Research Council; most notable are its programs in agricultural economics, entomology, evolutionary biology, plant biology, and ecology. Additionally, the NRC placed more than a third of UC Davis graduate programs in the top 25% of their respective fields.[40] In 2013, U.S. News & World Report placed UC Davis 2nd nationally in Veterinary Medicine, 3rd in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 7th in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, 11th in Environmental Engineering, 13th in Civil Engineering, 15th in International Economics, 19th in American Politics and 21st in Psychology.[7] The Economics department of UC Davis was also ranked 6th among public universities and 20th nationally according to the RePec (Research Papers in Economics) Rankings in 2011.[41] In 2013, The Economist placed UC Davis Graduate School of Management in the top 8% accredited MBA programs in the United States (ranked 37th nationally and 65th globally).[42]

The Academic Ranking of World Universities placed UC Davis 33rd nationally and 47th globally for 2013.[43] In its 2013-14 rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked it 52nd in the world.[44] The QS World University Rankings ranked it 100th in 2012,[45] and 85th in 2013 (the 27th highest ranked U.S school on the list.)[46]

In 2012, Sierra Magazine ranked UC Davis 1st in its "Coolest School" in America list due to campus sustainability and climate change efforts.[47] The Newsweek College Rankings of 2011 had UC Davis in 10th place among the "Happiest Schools in America" and 11th among the "Greenest Schools" in the United States.[48] UC Davis was awarded an A- from the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, which grades schools on their environmental sustainability across nine categories.[49] In 2012, - 2013, UC Davis was also ranked 1st among research universities (tied with UC Berkeley and Penn State) as top producers of Fulbright Scholars.[50]

The city of Davis has been ranked as the second Best College Town in America[51] and the Best College Downtown in California.[52]


Fall Freshman Statistics[3][53][54][55][56][57][58]

 % Admitted41.345.746.044.946.2
Average GPA3.993.963.903.863.90

Admission to UC Davis is rated as "most selective" by U.S. News and World Report.[59]

For Fall 2013, UC Davis received 55,895 freshmen applications; 21,998 were admitted (39.4%).[53]

UC Davis received 49,333 applications for admission to the Fall 2012 incoming freshman class; 22,521 were admitted (45.7%).[3] The middle 50% of the 5,208 enrolled freshmen had average high school GPAs between 3.9-4.1, while the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 520-640 for critical reading, 570-690 for math, and 540-660 for writing.[3]

For Fall 2012, 13,180 transfer applications were received; 7,673 were admitted (58.2%) and 2,888 enrolled.[3] 93.2% of admitted transfer students were from California community colleges.[60]


Inside of the Peter J. Shields Library

UC Davis' libraries include the Peter J. Shields Library, the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library, the Carlson Health Sciences Library, and the Medical Center Library in Sacramento, contain more than 3.5 million volumes and offers a number of special collections and services. The Peter J. Shields Library has three different architectural styles due to various construction and extensions being added; it is the main library where students study on-campus, with a 24-hour reading room, open computer labs, and unique furniture.

Faculty and research[edit]

UC Davis is also one of 62 members in the prestigious Association of American Universities (as of 1996). The Association of American Universities is an organization of leading research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education. It consists of sixty universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

Research expenditures[edit]

According to the National Science Foundation, UC Davis spent $456,653,000 on research and development in the fiscal year 2002-2003, ranking it 14th in the nation. Specifically, UC Davis's expenditures nationally ranked first in agricultural research ($25,683,000), seventh in biological research ($118,477,000), and 13th in the life sciences ($336,796,000). UC Davis reported $750 million in research expenditures in 2011-12.[61]

Faculty honors[edit]

Its faculty includes 20 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 21 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 17 members of the American Law Institute, 2 Pulitzer Prize winners, 2 MacArthur Fellows and one member of the Royal Society.

Bodega Marine Lab from the south, looking across Horseshoe Cove

Research centers and laboratories[edit]

The campus supports a number of research centers and laboratories including:

The Crocker Nuclear Laboratory on campus has had a nuclear accelerator since 1966.[65][66] The laboratory is used by scientists and engineers from private industry, universities and government to research topics including nuclear physics, applied solid state physics, radiation effects, planetary geology and cosmogenics.[67] UC Davis is the only UC campus, besides Berkeley, that has a nuclear laboratory.

Agilent Technologies will also work with the university in establishing a Davis Millimeter Wave Research Center to conduct research into millimeter wave and THz systems.[68]

Student life[edit]

The Activities and Recreation Center

The undergraduate student government of UC Davis is the Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD), and has an annual operating budget of 11.1 million dollars, making it one of the largest-funded student government in the United States.[69] ASUCD includes an Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch. Other than representing the student body on campus, the task of ASUCD is to lobby student interests to local and state government. Also under the purview of ASUCD are the student-run Coffee House is an ASUCD unit and Unitrans, the Davis public bus system. ASUCD employs thousands of students[70] annually across its many units.

UC Davis Athletics logo

Picnic Day, UC Davis's annual Open House, is the largest student-run event in the United States. It attracts thousands of visitors each year with its many attractions. These include a parade, a magic show performed by the chemistry department, the Doxie Derby (dachshund races), film screenings, and a Battle of the Bands between the Band and other college bands including the Cal Band, the Stanford Band, and the Humboldt State Marching Band.

Another highlight of UC Davis is its student-run freeform radio station, KDVS. The station began operations on February 1, 1964 from the laundry room of the all-male dormitory Beckett Hall. The station soon gained a reputation by airing interviews with Angela Davis and a live call-in show with then California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969. The station can now be heard on 90.3 FM and online at its website.[72]

UC Davis has over 500 registered student organizations, ranging from political clubs to professional societies to language clubs. According to the administration, roughly 75% of students are involved with one or more student-run groups on campus. These clubs are managed through the Center for Student Involvement.[73]

The academic Graduate Students and management students are represented by the Graduate Student Association (GSA). The Law Students are represented by Law Students Association.

Students are also encouraged to wear Aggie Blue on game days to show their Aggie Pride. If spotted wearing Aggie Blue by the Aggie Pack, students may have UC Davis paraphernalia thrown at them as a reward.

Students also participate in intramural sports such as basketball, ultimate frisbee, soccer and many more. The ARC contains a basketball gym, work out room, rock climbing wall, and other studio rooms for group exercise.

The UC Davis Tae Kwon Do club

One less-known student tradition occurs during the commencement ceremonies, where students toss tortillas into the air at the beginning of the ceremony. Tortillas are smuggled into the building under graduation gowns and released into the air after all the graduates have taken their seats.

Other student activities:


Bicycles, UC Davis
One of the double deckers in the city's student-run (and student-driven) bus system

Bicyclists are ubiquitous around campus as well as the city, and thus a lot of bike-only infrastructure exists, such as bike circles, large bike lanes, and traffic signals exclusively for bikes and the UC Davis cycling team has won several national championship titles.[77] The campus police department also has some of its officers patrol on bicycles and take bicycling under the influence ("BUI") and bicycling without a headlight at night very seriously. All bikes on the UC Davis campus must be registered with a California Bicycle license or they risk being sold at the on campus bike auction.

UC Davis is also well known for its bus service, Unitrans, and its trademark London double decker buses. It has been in operation since 1968 and is believed to be the only general purpose (non-sightseeing) transit system in the U.S. to operate vintage double deck buses in daily service. The system is operated and managed entirely by students and offers fixed-route transportation throughout the city. There is also an inter-campus bus service[78] that ferries back and forth between UC Davis and UC Berkeley twice daily, from Monday to Friday. Davis is also one of the busiest stations of the Capitol Corridor intercity railroad service operated by Amtrak between the Bay Area and Sacramento.

The central campus is bounded by freeways on two sides (Highway 113 and Interstate 80). All other UC campuses are either somewhat distant from the closest freeway or are directly adjacent to only one freeway. Two freeway exits are entirely within UCD's boundaries. One, off Highway 113, is signed "UC Davis / Hutchison Drive" and the other, off Interstate 80, is signed exclusively as "UC Davis."

Easy freeway access, coupled with increasing housing costs in the city of Davis, have led to increased numbers of students commuting via automobile. Some students choose to live in the neighboring communities of Sacramento, Dixon or Woodland, and use their own cars or the county-wide Yolobus to get to UC Davis.

The California Aggie[edit]

UC Davis also publishes a weekly student newspaper, The California Aggie. The Aggie was first published in 1915 as the Weekly Agricola after its approval by the Associated Student Executive Committee. At this point, UC Davis was considered the University Farm, an extension of UC Berkeley.[79]

Initially, the Weekly Agricola was focused on both student news and farming-related topics. Novelist Jack London was one of the first readers of the Weekly Agricola. In 1922, it was renamed to match the school's athletic name.[79] Today, the Aggie has the largest print distribution in Yolo County, at around 8,000 copies distributed daily.

Greek life[edit]

UC Davis' iconic water tower

Social fraternities and sororities have been a part of the University of California at Davis since 1913. Approximately 8% of the university's undergraduate students are involved in the school's fraternities and sororities. One sorority, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, was featured during the first season of the MTV reality show Sorority Life.

There are currently 17 social fraternities that are a part of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) in Davis. The IFC representatives attend weekly meetings to guarantee that all UC Davis rules and regulations are followed. The meetings are also used to inform the fraternities about all upcoming activities throughout the week. The 18 fraternities are: Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Gamma Omega, Alpha Sigma Phi, Chi Phi, Delta Chi, Delta Lambda Phi, Delta Sigma Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Theta, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Theta Chi, and Theta Xi.[80]

The Davis Collegiate Panhellenic Council (DCPA) is similar to the Interfraternity Council, but is the governing council for several sororities at UC Davis. They are responsible for organizing recruitment, and overseeing that all regulations are upheld. There are currently 10 sororities that are a part of the Panhellenic Council. The 10 sororities are: alpha Kappa Delta Phi, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi.[81]

The Phi Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho was locally established May 1 of 1923 at UC Davis making it the first continuously running national fraternity on campus. They started as the Kappa Tau Fraternity, which was the first Agricultural Fraternity on campus. Many campus buildings are named after alumni of Alpha Gamma Rho such as Emil Mrak (Mrak Hall, Registrar's office), Orville Thompson (Thompson Hall, Segundo student housing), and Dean De Carli (the De Carli room, 2nd floor MU), Mel Olson Scoreboard (Aggie Stadium), and many more. The AGR Hall is an event space located inside the Buehler Alumni / Visitor's Center and is commonly rented out as a conference room or banquet hall. There are both national and local fraternities and sororities at UCD with diverse backgrounds and histories.[82]


The UC Davis Aggies (or Ags) compete in NCAA Division I sports in the Big West Conference. For football, the Aggies compete in Division I FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA), and are members of the Big Sky Conference, granting UC Davis the distinction of being one of only three UC campuses to field a football team (Cal and UCLA being the other two). The Aggies are also members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in gymnastics and lacrosse, the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association and Davis Men's Crew Club for rowing.

The UC Davis Men's Crew Club is one of the more successful clubs both on campus and in the West. In 2008 the JV boat won first in nationals at the ACRA Championships in Tennessee and in 2009 the Varsity boat got second place in nationals at the ACRA Championships. They consistently compete against teams such as Stanford, the University of Washington and UC Berkeley.

The Aggies finished first in NCAA Division II six times in 2003 and won the NACDA Directors' Cup 4 years in a row from 1999 to 2003. In 1998, the UC Davis men's basketball team won the NCAA Division II national championship despite being one of the few non-scholarship institutions in Division II at that time. They have also won NCAA Division II championships in Softball (2003), Men's Tennis (1992), and Women's Tennis (1990, 1993). These and other achievements motivated a decision (following a year of heavy discussion by campus administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the local community) in 2003 for the athletics program to re-classify to Division I.[83][84]

Aggies at Stanford (half-time show), September 17, 2005

The highlight of UC Davis's 4-year transition to Division I occurred on September 17, 2005, when the Aggies defeated the heavily favored Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium by a score of 20-17 on a TD pass with 8 seconds left in the game. The Aggies also pulled off an upset against Stanford in basketball just months later, beating the Cardinal 64-58 with a late rally at home on December 4, 2005. The win in these two major sports and the addition of the Aggies beating the Cardinal in soccer earlier in 2005 as well as a win in wrestling and two wins in baseball pulled the Aggies' win loss record with Stanford to 5-1 for men's sports the 05-06 year.

The Aggie football team plays Sacramento State in the annual Causeway Classic for the Causeway Carriage. The team also plays Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the annual Battle for the Golden Horseshoe. UC Davis students gather at sporting events to rally as the Aggie Pack, the largest student-run school spirit organization in the United States. The Aggie Pack cheers on the sports team along with the Spirit Squad to the music of the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! and its alumni band. Aggie Stadium is the home of the UC Davis football and lacrosse teams.

UC Davis also had a noteworthy wrestling program, which competed in the Pac-10 at the Division I level. In 2007, UC Davis wrestler Derek Moore gained All-American status, as well as won the NCAA Division I Championships for his weight class. Moore also received the "Most Outstanding Wrestler" award of the NCAA tournament. In doing so, Derek Moore became the first UC Davis student-athlete to become a NCAA champion at the Division I level. That same year, UC Davis finished within the top 25 for Division I collegiate wrestling programs in the country.

Wrestling was cut from the athletic department in April 2010. Other cuts included men's swimming, men's indoor track, and women's rowing. The athletic's department had to cut $1.79 million out of the budget. 14 women's teams and 9 men's teams were funded for the 2010-2011 school year.[85]

UC Davis Athletics logo

The official school colors are blue and gold. The blue is due to the UC's early connection to Yale[86] and as a result is often referred to as "Yale Blue" (e.g., see),[87] and [88] although UCD's official blue, usually called "Aggie Blue", Pantone 295[89] differs from Yale Blue (approximately Pantone 289)[90]

The official school mascot is the mustang. Students at UC Davis are referred to as Aggies in honor of the school's agricultural heritage. Unlike most colleges, there is a distinction between the name for students and the mascot. There was a movement to change the school's mascot from the mustang to the cow, but despite student support this was turned down after opposition from alumni. Many people will call the mustang mascot of UC Davis an Aggie, but this is not its proper name; the mustang mascot is named Gunrock. The name dates to 1921 when the US Army brought a thoroughbred horse named Gunrock to UC Davis to supply high-quality breeding stock for the US Cavalry remount program. The mustang mascot was selected to honor that cavalry horse.


UC Davis has implemented many environmentally sustainable features on campus. In the Fall of 2010, UCD opened a renovated Dining Commons in the Cuarto living area. The dining hall prides itself on its sustainability and use of local produce. Currently there are two LEED-certified buildings operated by the university — the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, which is the first brewery, winery or food-processing facilities in the world to achieve Platinum-level certification, and the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences at Lake Tahoe, one of only five laboratories in the world to achieve Platinum-level certification.[91] Plans call for additional campus buildings to meet standards equivalent to LEED Silver,[92] and for the development of UC Davis West Village as a "zero net energy" community.[93]

The university was given two Best Practice Awards at the 2009 annual Sustainability Conference, held by the University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges, for the campus's lighting retrofit project and sustainable design in new construction.[94]

UC Davis has used the olives from the old trees on campus to produce olive oil[95] and table olives,[96] and the school uses drought-tolerant landscaping on and around campus.[97] The campus also operates its own landfill, where it converts landfill (methane) gas to energy.[98]

For its efforts in campus sustainability, UC Davis earned an A- on the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, one of 27 schools to achieve the highest grade awarded.[49]

UC Davis became the first university to implement a fee on all single-use bags distributed on campus and is working towards becoming the first university campus to ban plastic bags entirely.[99]

UC Davis is also home to the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI),[100] which is part of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). ASI provides leadership for research, teaching, outreach, and extension efforts in agricultural and food systems sustainability at the Davis campus and throughout the UC system.

UC Davis, introduced by Arnold Schwarzenegger as the "environmental capital of the world",[101] hosted Governors' Global Climate Summit 3 (GGCS3)[102] which is an international climate forum for the top leaders of local, regional, national and international entities, as well as those from academia, business and nonprofits. The summit featured talks that promised to broaden national partnerships through an increased understanding of unique environmental and economic challenges in the continuation to grow a clean, green economy. The summit included more than 1,500 attendees from more than 80 countries.


See also[edit]


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External links[edit]