Happy New Year, campus community!
I hope you enjoyed a restful winter break and celebrated the holiday season with family and friends. After relaxing with my family, I feel a renewed sense of optimism for 2019. It’s certainly shaping up to be another banner year for UC Davis, and we’re just getting started.
You may have seen the news that we were just ranked first in the nation and number three in the world for our commitment to developing an “environmentally friendly” infrastructure. It’s the fifth year in a row that we’ve earned top spots from the University of Indonesia’s GreenMetric World University Rankings.
We’re also anticipating another milestone this spring when we will be formally designated a Hispanic Serving Institution. This federal recognition will affirm that UC Davis is advancing its public mission with our proportion of Latinx/Chicanx undergraduates at 25 percent and growing. Through the intentional and concerted effort of our extended community over the last decade, we are empowering bright young people from California’s underserved communities to study here and helping close the gap on socioeconomic disparities.
We’re making significant progress on addressing students’ mental health care needs, food access and security, and affordable housing. We established a basic needs committee to implement recommendations made by three task forces last summer. We’ll announce details about our progress later this week.
In the months ahead, we’re looking forward to strengthening our relationships with community leaders. Next week, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Davis Mayor Brett Lee will present with me at the UC Board of Regents’ meeting. Mayor Steinberg will share his perspective on our Aggie Square partnership. Mayor Lee will spotlight our recent agreement guaranteeing on-campus housing for any growth in new student enrollment. Both of these developments made The Davis Enterprise’s top-10 stories of 2018, and I’m pleased to say that we expect to have a formal groundbreaking next month for our largest housing project, the West Village expansion, which will accommodate 3,300 students by the fall of 2021.
Construction also begins this quarter on a new sports performance center next to Aggie Stadium that will have UC Davis Health physicians and physical therapists providing world-class care for our student-athletes and the community.
Finally, we’ve had a wonderful response to our Leadership Job Shadow Program, and we’re now accepting applications to participate during winter quarter. If you’re curious about what you might gain from this experience, take a look at this page.
I want to close by reaffirming my commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all who work, study, live, research and visit our Davis and Sacramento campuses, as well as our centers, institutes and laboratories. In 2019, let’s rededicate ourselves to fostering a climate where everyone feels welcomed, appreciated and respected.
Gary S. May