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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Centennial celebration to kick off at state fair

This fall will mark 100 years since UC Davis first opened its doors, and the university is celebrating its centennial with a salute to its past and an enthusiastic look forward to its future.

UC Davis will kick off the centennial celebration at this year’s California State Fair in Sacramento, where it will unveil a 6,000 square foot pavilion dedicated to the university’s journey from a small agricultural school to one of the top public universities in the country. Fairgoers can visit the State Fair exhibit at Cal Expo starting Aug. 15 through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

“Our presence at the State Fair is to extend an invitation to [Californians],” said Mabel Salon, program director for the UC Davis Centennial Project. “We are bringing a slice of UC Davis to the people of California, giving them a glimpse of who we are, what we do, and why it matters to them.”

The theme for the centennial exhibit is “Dream Big,” according to the Davis Centennial website. It will feature UC Davis on the leading edge of innovation and will emphasize its contributions in food and agriculture, energy, environment, health, and community building and global understanding.

The Pavilion will feature a wide variety of attractions. Fairgoers can watch a biodigester convert food scraps to usable energy, take a tour to the center of the earth in a 3-D theater and even check out one of Unitran’s famous double decker buses, which will be on display outside of the tent.

Bob Segar, planning director for the UC Davis Centennial celebration, said the exhibit is an opportunity for UC Davis to showcase achievements that many people might not recognize.

“We hope that people leave saying, ‘Wow, I didn’t know UC Davis did that’,” he said in a statement on the UC Davis Centennial website.

Salon said that the decision to kick off the centennial at the State Fair is a tribute to the university’s inception.

“We found it appropriate given the ‘idea’ for UC Davis was born at the State Fair,” she said. “In 1858, the president of the California State Agriculture Society gave an opening address at the State Fair where he called for ‘an institution to teach … knowledge of agriculture as a science’. Fifty years later, the UC regents opened the University Farm in Davis.”

As part of the tribute to the University’s first 100 years, the exhibit will display photos of 100 UC Davis alumni representing the university’s wide spectrum of achievements.

“We are featuring a diverse group of alumni who have made contributions in their respective fields of expertise ranging from elementary school teachers to winemakers to a professional wrestler to the United States Treasurer,” Salon said.

The Centennial celebration will continue on campus from Oct. 10 to 15 with the Fall Festival, which will include an unveiling of the new centennial walk on the Quad.

To learn more about the state fair exhibit and the fall festival celebration, go to centennial.ucdavis.edu.


ERICA LEE can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.


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