Chancellor’s State of the Campus 2023: ‘Confident and Optimistic’

Person walks by the "Eye on Mrak" Egghead sculpture
Chancellor Gary S. May eyed the State of the Campus last week for his annual address to the Academic Senate’s Representative Assembly.

Quick Summary

  • The speech by the numbers: From grades to concrete
  • Annual address notes "significant accolades" for faculty
  • Acknowledges new leaders and those who are departing

Chancellor Gary S. May delivered his annual State of the Campus address to the Academic Senate’s Representative Assembly last week, giving example after example of “major growth and greater impact” over the last year and declaring he was “confident and optimistic” about the upcoming year.

“We’ve shown over the last few years just how strong and resilient UC Davis is, that we thrive in the face of challenges,” he said in his prepared remarks for his speech in the multipurpose room of the Student Community Center, Feb. 16.

Gary S. May headshot, UC Davis chancellor
Chancellor Gary S. May

U.S. News & World Report ranked us as the No. 10 best public university in the fall. Also, Washington Monthly ranked UC Davis last year as the second-best public university in the country for research, social mobility and public service. — Chancellor May

“We’re advancing the scholarship, research and public service that benefits not only our region, but the entire world," the chancellor said. “The dedication, excellence and leadership from faculty drives these successes.”

Here’s a look at his speech by the numbers. You can read the full text of his prepared remarks and see his accompanying slides here.

  • 132,235 — Grades submitted as of Jan. 30 for undergraduates’ fall coursework, representing 99.1% of the total due. The chancellor cited these figures as he thanked faculty for their “endurance during the strike,” referring to the labor action by academic student employees, graduate student researchers, ostdoctoral scholars and academic researchers that started in mid-November and extended beyond finals week — prompting worries about grade submission.
  • $77 million to $95 million — The cost over five years of the new contracts resulting from the strike. “This additional amount is currently unfunded,” the chancellor said.
  • $100 million — Core-funds deficit the campus aims to address by 2025. “This amount is expected to increase due to the recent labor agreements.”
  • 800 — Number of ideas submitted by faculty and staff to the “IDEA$ at Work” campaign for institutional savings or revenue generation.

UC Davis task force members [behind the IDEA$ campaign] are working to identify options that could achieve at least $50 million in ongoing net revenue and efficiencies that can be applied to our core mission.

  • $12.56 billion — Statewide economic activity generated by UC Davis in 2019, an increase of $4 billion from the last report in 2013-14.
  • $1.10 — Additional economic activity in the state, for every dollar UC Davis spent in California.
  • 69,000 — Number of jobs supported by UC Davis.
  • $765,000 — UC Davis’ net fiscal impact to the benefit of the city of Davis, comparing the taxes generated locally by students, faculty, staff and visitors to the costs of providing municipal services to those same populations. The numbers were about balanced for Yolo County.

Altogether, it shows that as a public university, we are fulfilling our mission of contributing to our local and state economies and the livelihoods of so many.

  • $1.07 billion — UC Davis broke the billion-dollar mark for annual research awards for the first time, becoming one of fewer that 20 public universities in the country to achieve this milestone.
  • $323 million — Charitable giving to the university, topping $300 million for the first time, from more than 58,000 gifts and pledges from 32,434 donors.
  • $1.83 billion — Amount raised in our $2 billion “Expect Greater: From UC Davis, for the World” campaign as of Feb. 6, or 92% of our goal, from more than 119,000 donors. “The finish line is definitely in sight.”

Of all the UC campuses, UC Davis continues to enroll the most California resident undergraduates, including new and continuing students. We’ve done so every year since 2010. That’s a real point of pride.

  • 110,189 — Record number of applications for freshman and transfer enrollment, for fall 2022, a 4.1% increase over the previous year.
  • 24% — Hispanic enrollment, making UC Davis an “Emerging HSI,” or Hispanic-Serving Institution, about 300 students shy of the 25% minimum for HSI designation. “Once we reach this number, UC Davis can apply for critical funding to support student success, innovation and institutional transformation. This designation is one that benefits all of our students.”
  • 8,000-plus — Chicanx/Latinx undergraduate students, the second-highest number of Chicanx/Latinx students in the UC system, after UC Riverside.
  • 13,000 yards-plus — Concrete poured for the foundation and the first two floors of Aggie Square. “That included three overnight pours involving 60 concrete trucks per hour and included 2.7 million pounds of rebar.” See time-lapse video of the construction.


The chancellor called out a number of faculty members for “significant accolades”:

  • Jennifer Sinclair Curtis Elected to the National Academy of Engineering
  • Danika Bannasch, Annaliese Franz, Sarah B. Hrdy, Lynne Isbell, Pamela Lein, Maeli Melotto, Roberta Millstein and Frank Osterloh — Newly elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Antia Oberholster — Recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of its Innovators of the Year
  • Michal KurlaenderAppointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the Education Commission of the States
  • Mike Henderson Recipient of the Margrit Mondavi Arts Medallion to recognize his contributions over more than four decades of teaching art at UC Davis

The chancellor welcomed new leaders ...

... and bid farewell to Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research, who is moving to the University of South Florida; and several other leaders who are retiring or stepping down: Don Roth, executive director, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts; Leslyn Kraus, internal audit director; Bob Segar, assistant vice chancellor, Campus Planning and Environmental Stewardship; MacKenzie Smith, university librarian and vice provost of Digital Scholarship; and Susan Catron, dean, Division of Continuing and Professional Education.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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