All Can Be Heroes at Fall Welcome

Chancellor Gary S. May speaks with a sign in front of him that reads #AggieHeroes.
Last year, Chancellor Gary S. May introduced the campus to the concept of Aggie Heroes. This year, some of those heroes will share ways we can all be heroic in our words and actions. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

It doesn’t take superpowers to be a hero, and on Monday (Sept. 23) some Aggie Heroes will share tips for how we can all learn, help others and make the world a better place.

Those students, faculty, staff and alumni — some of the people who were dubbed Aggie Heroes last year — will be among the featured speakers at next week’s Fall Welcome event, which carries the theme “Aggie Heroes: For the Better.”


  • WHAT: Fall Welcome event
  • WHEN: 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23 (doors open at 3:30)
  • WHERE: The Pavilion at the ARC
  • TICKETS: This event is free, but tickets are required (limit two per person), for everyone except students (although they should bring their UC Davis IDs). Tickets are available as follows:
  • Online (You will need to set up an account if you do not already have one.)
  • Phone — 530-752-2471
  • In person — At the ticket office, open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, UC Davis Health Stadium North.
  • On the day of the event, bring a copy of your email confirmation and your ID to The Pavilion if you have trouble printing tickets.

And don't forget RecFest, also happening Monday (Sept. 23), celebrating the new and improved Activities and Recreation Center and Rec Pool.

Combining the traditions of Fall Convocation and New Student Welcome, and hosted by Chancellor Gary S. May, Fall Welcome is free and open to all — new and returning students, faculty, staff and community members. Can't be there in person? Watch the livestream.

Admission and dinner afterward are free. Students will need their UC Davis IDs to get in, while others — including faculty and staff — must have tickets (see box for information on how to get them).

Fall Welcome, in The Pavilion at the ARC, also will feature student dance group MK Modern and student drummers Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan. Every attendee will receive a free T-shirt as well as a wristband to trade for a free meal from one of the many food trucks that will converge on Hutchison Field, where the Fall Welcome dinner will share the space with the New Student Resource Fair.

John James

John James, one of last year’s Aggie Heroes, is a nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at the UC Davis Medical Center. He received recognition for going above and beyond to track down the dog of a man who had been hit by a car.

He’ll share the reason he came to UC Davis and encourage the new students in attendance to treat their college careers as a way to explore interests and passions, as he has done throughout his career. Each stage of your life and career builds upon the previous ones, James will say.

Others will also have advice for the students in attendance: Emily Merchant, a professor of Science and Technology Studies, will explain how students can better connect both with their faculty members and other students in their classes.

Rebecca Calisi Rodriguez
Calisi Rodríguez

Meanwhile, Valencia Scott, a student double majoring in anthropology and international relations, will introduce one of the lesser-known populations on campus, spotlighting UC Davis’ undocumented students.

Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, an associate professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, will emcee the event. She, too, will highlight some of what makes UC Davis unique, explaining the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science, or CAMPOS, and the ways people with diverse backgrounds can bring new and unique solutions to the problems researchers like her try to solve.

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