UC Davis’ Big Ideas are forward-thinking, interdisciplinary programs and projects that build upon the strengths of the university to make a better world. The College of Letters and Science is lead and partner on several initiatives that will help shape the rest of this century and beyond. Here we share the visions of College faculty champions and researchers engaged in five of the Big Ideas.
Walking around campus, you see sunlight unexpectedly reflect off an oak tree. A ginkgo tree appears to have a viewing port that lets you see straight through it. Your face appears in the bark of a magnolia.
Art and psychology student Maxine Aiello, “overwhelmed and scared” by climate change, created “If Trees Could Talk” for the art class “Miniature and the Gigantic,” taught by Professor Robin Hill.
Volunteer leadership is helping to ensure the longevity of the venerable C.N. Gorman Museum and its smooth transition to a new home on campus. Longtime arts champions Bill and Nancy Roe recently pledged $250,000 toward its expansion.
Ronald Whitney-Whyte (B.S., design, ’75) has made a planned gift of $1 million to the College to support undergraduates majoring in design. Whitney-Whyte’s gift will establish two endowed funds, one to provide students with supplies and the other to support scholarships for junior and senior design majors.
In the 2017 issue of the College of Letters and Science Magazine, we look to the future at a particularly exciting time in the life of the college and university. Our new chancellor, Gary May, has embarked on a year-long strategic planning process for UC Davis. As part of this larger initiative, the College of Letters and Science will likewise be building for the future over the coming year.
Irene Ezran (B.A., international relations and Spanish, ’18) has had a lifelong fascination with international politics. With her sights set on a career as a foreign service officer, and with financial support from the Richard and Carolyn Palmer Scholarship, Ezran took her first summer internship at the United Nations.
Just three years old, the UC Davis Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture and Science (GTI) is already gaining recognition as a major player in the world of tea.
Tapping the growing enthusiasm of researchers, tea culture devotees, growers, and industry leaders, GTI is taking the next step toward making UC Davis as much a powerhouse in tea research as it is in wine, beer, and coffee studies.
A newly formed GTI Tea Advisory Committee brings together industry leaders committed to developing the initiative.
Some children grow up playing in parks,” said Maisha T. (Fisher) Winn. “Colleges and universities were our playground.” Winn (B.A., English, ’94), the daughter of James Fisher, an African American studies scholar who taught at UC Davis from 1969 to 1974, fondly remembers trips she and her brother took as children to the UC Davis Arboretum and library.
Experience outside the classroom opens doors for a lifetime
UC Davis is known and nationally recognized for its commitment to broadening access to students who have traditionally found higher education out of reach. More than 40 percent of entering freshmen are the first in their families to attend college. As the largest and most diverse college at UC Davis, the College of Letters and Science is at the heart of this effort.
Isabella Romero’s early induction into political life occurred right here in Davis; she and her mother lived in town while her mother completed her undergraduate degree in political science and sociology, and eventually her Ph.D. Today the two are both Aggies.