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Saturday, April 20, 2024

New motto unveiled at UC Davis’ 2020 kickoff celebration: “Outgrow the Expected”

Construction plans for new Student-Athlete Performance Center revealed

The 2020 Kickoff Event held on Jan. 27 celebrated past and current UC Davis accomplishments in an offort to spark inspiration and excitement for future Aggie accomplishments in the new decade. Features included a variety of speakers, associations, live bands, poetry, Aggie-themed snacks and interactive booths. Although each speaker’s specific campus involvement varied, they unanimously exhibited the same theme: “Outgrow the Expected.” 

Banners displaying the “Outgrow the Expected” motto were draped throughout the ARC Pavilion, and each speaker connected their message to UC Davis’ worldwide impact and goal of breaking the status quo. The event began with a speech from Chancellor Gary May about UC Davis’ growing prestige and innovations.

“I think there’s one word that best describes UC Davis, and it is ‘growth,’” May said. “Our roots go back to 1908, when our campus was the university farm. We’ve always specialized in growing things.” 

May transitioned into an applause-inducing list of accomplishments achieved since then, stemming from a variety of fields and studies. May noted that, in the last decade, UC Davis “grew” from a ranking as the #11 public university in the nation to #5.

One literal interpretation of the “growth” theme included recurring praise for UC Davis’ recently earned ranking as the No. 1 “most sustainable” university in the U.S., as noted in speeches by May and Associate Vice Chancellor Bob Segar. 

“We love the UC Davis motto ‘Outgrow the Expected’ because we’re all about growing,” said Carmia Feldman, the assistant director for the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. “We’re part of a movement on campus to get ready for climate change to create a resilient campus landscape for the climate of the future.” 

Gearing UC Davis for the future and increasing the university’s worldly impact were other prevalent themes. May praised UC Davis’s sustainable achievements, specifically detailing efforts by students and researchers in Lake Tahoe and Bodega Bay. May noted the impact UC Davis has on the community, on California and on the planet.

  The 2020 Kickoff Celebration Event also celebrated UC Davis’ efforts in diversity, varied academics, workplace satisfaction and athletics. 

Jim Les, the head coach of the men’s basketball team, described recruitment efforts and efforts to make the campus athletically attractive in the future. Construction plans for the new Student-Athlete Performance Center were revealed. Jennifer Gross, the head coach of the women’s basketball team and UC Davis alumna, emphasized the growth in UC Davis’ prestige both on and off the playing field. Gross recalled her own UC Davis recruitment process and appealed to future Aggie athletic recruits. 

Re-invigorating UC Davis’ athletics program prompted interest for audience members like Eric Pfeiffer, an education and case specialist with the Harrassment and Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program. 

“I was excited about the speeches regarding athletics, and the growth occurring there,” Pfeiffer said. 

Another goal outlined for this decade is expanding diversity and inclusion on campus, as noted by Jim Hewlett, a KDVS talk show host and supply chain management department member. 

“Everybody who was speaking really had this diversity and real excited empowered speech,” Hewlett said. 

Hewlett said the event prompted him to ponder his own department at UC Davis and how his efforts today will impact future generations of students. 

Provost Ralph J. Hexter highlighted past, current and future efforts to increase campus facilities serving students from every socioeconomic background, reminding those present that “we make it possible for students of all backgrounds to get a UC Davis education.”

Ultimately, all speakers and guests emphasized May’s theme of “growth” in the new decade. May ended his speech by outlining UC Davis’ 10-year plan, stressing the goal to “enhance our visibility” to the world.

“Our days [of] being the best kept secret in higher education are done,” May said. “We’re not going to be shy about success anymore. The sleeping giant is waking up! We’ve risen from humble roots to a powerhouse in higher education. We’ve grown beyond all expectations, and we’re ready to let the world know. As we head into the bold new decade, our mantra is this: ‘Outgrow the Expected.’ Thank you, and Go Ags!”

Written by: Hannah Blome — campus@theaggie.org


  1. The student body is outgrowing the expected number of rental units. Thanks, UC System for your oblivious mandate of enrollment increases.


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