Chancellor Linda Katehi believes in UC Davis, she said in her address at the annual Fall Convocation.
“I believe that we are poised to become one of the world’s greatest universities so long as we stay true to our vision,” Katehi said.
Katehi referenced the multitude of honors UC Davis received in the past year, despite the state’s economic downturn.
In the nation, UC Davis is in the top 10 for research funding with $680 million in 2009-2010, was named the 16th greenest university by Sierra Magazine and was ranked sixth for contributions to society by Washington Monthly.
“It is clear that in the past year UC Davis has achieved a new level of excellence in education, research, public service and even in funding for our students,” she said.
Fundraising has exceeded $112 million, Katehi said. UC Davis committed to raising $120 million over the next four years to support students and has raised $80 million thus far. Next month, UC Davis is launching its first comprehensive campaign to raise one billion dollars – up from $100,000 – to support students.
Katehi also discussed the difficulties from last year, like the UC-wide 32 percent fee hike for undergraduates, the 1,100 jobs eliminated, the four sports cut and the hate crimes on campus.
UC Davis invested in mentorships for underrepresented students and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, Katehi said. She also promised to bring staff and students to the Museum of Tolerance and to bring museum exhibits to campus.
“Every student, staff member and faculty member in our campus deserves to feel safe, welcome and wanted,” she said.
Despite these hardships, members of the UC Davis community remained committed to the university, Katehi said.
“I want you to know that I am committed to you,” she said.
Nikki Uhlinger, a first-year biological sciences major, said she was encouraged by Katehi’s speech.
“She was really inspirational and had a great vision,” Uhlinger said. “Her optimism is great in this time of economic hardship – it was exactly what I wanted to hear coming to Davis for my first year.”
The Convocation also included performances by the UC Davis University Chorus and remarks by Darin Latimore, director of student diversity at the UCD School of Medicine. Robert Powell, Academic Senate chair, and Michael Ziccardi, associate professor of clinical wildlife health, also spoke.
Ziccardi talked about his experience at the BP oil spill, where BP and federal commissions called upon UC Davis to lead an effort to save endangered wildlife.
“UC Davis got the call that day because we have a tradition and culture of collaboration, professionalism and continuous strife for excellence,” he said.
JANELLE BITKER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.