Picnic Day Parade Grandstand Ceremony

Picnic Day band plays for crowd.

Picnic Day Parade Grandstand Ceremony

Like so many of you, I’ve been counting down the days to this parade. Picnic Day has been a definitive event at UC Davis for more than a century, and it couldn’t feel better to have it back in person.

I’d first like to acknowledge our outstanding student volunteers for keeping Picnic Day going virtually for the past two years. And I’d like to thank them for all the hard work in bringing back Picnic Day this year as an in-person event. We’re expecting thousands today, so this is no small task.

Can we give a round of applause for our student volunteers and the Picnic Day Board for making today possible?

I know that the founders of Picnic Day in 1909 would be so incredibly thrilled with what’s happening today. Our world has gone through many ups and downs over time, but Picnic Day has endured.

Quick trivia question: Does anyone know who the US President was during the first Picnic Day on May 22, 1909?  Any history majors out there?

That’s right, the answer is William Howard Taft.  Bonus points if you knew that without Googling the answer.

So yes, just look around and you’ll see our campus has come a long way from the time of President Taft. We are no longer the humble University Farm. We are 40,000 students strong. We’re a place where world-class faculty, dedicated staff and proud alumni come together. We’re the change-makers and go-getters who shape a better tomorrow.

We are UC Davis—the #4 public university in the nation according to Forbes!

And from our humble beginnings of inviting the community to celebrate a new dairy barn, Picnic Day has emerged as one the largest student-run events in the nation.

This is our moment to showcase our world class research, our experts and unique programs.

This is a time for the entire community to discover and experience what UC Davis is all about. Today, we open our doors wide so you can see what UC Davis offers the world, all while celebrating our campus community.

We have world-class entomologists sharing the wonders of insects. We have tours of our cutting-edge teaching winery and activities all day at the Manetti Shrem Museum.

And of course, we have marching bands ready to battle and dachshunds ready to strut their stuff at the Doxie Derby.

As you explore UC Davis today, you might notice a number of construction zones. The running joke on campus now is that “UCD” stands for “Under Construction Daily.”

But this is a good thing. It’s the sign of a thriving campus that’s shaping itself for the best possible future.

Recently we celebrated the grand opening of the Graduate Center at Walker Hall, which is located near the Shields Library. This is a one-of-a-kind center in the entire UC system. We transformed a historic building into one of the most innovative spaces on campus with support services, classrooms and so much more for our graduate and postdoctoral community.

If you go farther west near UC Davis Health Stadium, you’ll see the Edwards Family Athletic Center. Once it’s completed this fall, the Edwards Family Athletic Center will be a state-of-the art hub for our student-athletes, coaches and teams.

And speaking of sports, I hope you can enjoy some games today. Our baseball team is taking on the University of Hawaii at Dobbins Stadium, and we have beach volleyball matches against Santa Clara University on Howard Field.

So I hope you brought your walking shoes today. Or that your bike has plenty of air in the tires.

It’s nearly time for the parade to begin. It’s been a long time coming, and hearing all the music and cheers as it winds around Davis couldn’t sound more triumphant.

Let’s embrace the theme of “Rediscovering Tomorrow,” which sets a tone of revitalization and optimism.

On behalf of UC Davis, welcome. Now, let’s get ready to strike up the band for Picnic Day 2022. Go Ags!

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