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LAURELS: Including Phillip Shaver’s Actual Laurel

By Dateline Staff on October 18, 2016 in University

Phillip Shaver, distinguished professor emeritus of psychology, has received a series of career awards for his research on romantic and other close adult relationships. But none of his award presentations can top what happened Sept. 30 in Stockholm. 

 Professor Philip Shaver in white tie, with real laurel on his head.
Shaver: In white tie and laurel.

In receiving an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University, he was given a laurel crown, diploma and gold ring — and it all took place during a white-tie ceremony in Stockholm City Hall, where Nobel Prize laureates receive their awards.

“The entire experience was wonderful,” Shaver said. “The award ceremony was an exciting, very glittery celebration, with medieval banners, opera singers, an orchestra and a male choir.”

After the ceremony, the honorees and their guests moved to the Gold Hall, where the Nobels are awarded each December, for dinner, toasts, speeches by Mario Vargas Llosa (recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature) and others, and dancing. “I felt like we were in a dream of a previous era (and a higher social class) for one stellar evening,” Shaver said.

A Stockholm University faculty leader described Shaver as a world-renowned researcher in social and personality psychology. “His attachment-theoretical studies of how adults relate to close interpersonal relationships have had a groundbreaking influence on psychologists’ understanding of love and attachment processes in adulthood,” said Gunnel Forsberg, professor of human geography and deputy dean of the social sciences faculty.

Read more in this College of Letters and Science story.


 Advising award recipients, holding plaques.
UC Davis Academic Advising Award recipients for 2015-16, from left: Caitlyn McCarthy, Laura Barrera, Ariel Collatz, Brenna Dockter, Kelli Sholer, Joseph “Joe” Lee, Laura Hackett and Shengling “Wilburn” Wang. Not pictured: Anya Gibson. (Andrea Duff/UC Davis)

The Office of Academic Advising recently presented its UC Davis Academic Advising Awards for 2015-16. The awards program, now in its second year, features a ceremony held during Fall Welcome.

“We commend the award winners for their contributions and commitment to field of academic advising,” said Brett McFarlane, executive director of Academic Advising. “These advisors represent the energized spirit of advising at UC Davis, through proactive involvement in pursuits to comprehensively elevate advising knowledge and practices across campus.”

Here are the recipients:

  • Outstanding Staff Advisor — Joseph “Joe” Lee, Dean’s Office, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Outstanding New Advisor — Laura Hackett, Dean’s Office, College of Engineering
  • Outstanding Innovative Advisor — Kelli Sholer, departments of Anthropology and Sociology, College of Letters and Science
  • Outstanding Advising Administrator — Laura Barrera, Department of Languages and Literatures, College of Letters and Science
  • Outstanding Peer Advisor — Shengling “Wilburn” Wang, Student Housing
  • Outstanding Campus Collaborators — Advising Supervisor Workgroup (ASW), College of Letters and Science, comprising Anya Gibson, East Asian Studies; Ariel Collatz, Arts Admin Group; Brenna Dockter, Deans Office; Caitlyn McCarthy, Department of Psychology; and Laura Barrera, Department of Languages and Literatures


Professor Raissa D’Souza of the Complexity Sciences Center, and the departments of Computer Science, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society. It cited her contributions to the statistical physics of complex systems, including self-organization in jamming phenomena and cascades, abrupt percolation transitions, and interdependence in network systems.


 Michael Carter

Michael Carter, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and the director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access, also known as BASIS, was one of three economists honored recently for their groundbreaking research on chronic poverty.

Carter and colleagues Christopher Barrett of Cornell University and Andrew Mude of the International Livestock Research Institute each received a Scientific Award for Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab.

There are 24 such labs throughout the nation, coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, including five at UC Davis.

The three economists worked together on an assets approach to preventing chronic poverty. They examined the resources that people use to produce a livelihood and identified critical, minimum asset thresholds, below which individuals become mired in chronic poverty.

The group’s flagship effort has been the Index-Based Livestock Insurance project in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, designed to prevent rural livestock producers from falling into indigence and food-aid dependence. The index provides a statistical measure of environmental risks, such as low annual rainfall or inadequate forage availability, to determine that animals are at significant risk — and allows the insurance project to compensate producers before their animals actually die.

The Scientific Awards for Excellence, conferred by USAID’s advisory Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, were presented in Des Moines, Iowa, in conjunction with World Food Prize events.

USAID is the lead federal agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.


Distinguished Professor Angela Harris is among the “Most-Cited Critical Theory Law Faculty, 2010-14,” according to Brian Leiter, professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Harris was the eighth most-cited scholar for the study period, with 540 citations.

Leiter based his report on the “Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties,” a study out of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Harris, a scholar in the fields of critical race theory, feminist legal theory and civil rights, holds the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom of Equality, and serves as the director of the Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies. She moved from the UC Berkeley School of Law to the UC Davis School of Law in 2011.


The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences presented its annual Awards of Distinction last week, during the College Celebration that takes place every fall harvest season:

The awards recognize faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the college for accomplishments “that bring great distinction while putting the college’s values of service, quality and commitment into action,” Dean Helene Dillard said.

  • Alumni awards — Robert Bertram ’76, chief scientist, Bureau for Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development, honored for his efforts to end hunger in the developing world; and
  • Therese (Watkins) McMillan ’81, chief planning officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for accomplishments in transportation planning.
  • Friends — Carlos Alvarez, president and chief executive officer, The Gambrinus Company, a privately held craft beer company in San Antonio, Texas, recognized for his philanthropy and commitment to education; Donald Bransford, a third-generation family farmer in the Sacramento Valley, recognized for his philanthropy, and for hosting farm tours and serving on search committees and departmental reviews; and Peter Mattson, founder of a food-product development company and a strong supporter of UC Davis food science.
  • Faculty — Jim Hill, retired Cooperative Extension rice specialist and emeritus associate dean of the college’s International Programs Office, recognized for his exceptional work as a faculty member and administrator.
  • Staff — Israel Herrera, principal superintendent of the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility and a mentor to a core group of staff and undergraduate assistants, and also recognized for the real-world farming knowledge and insight that he shared with professors, specialists and graduate students.

Read profiles on each award recipient.


Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of faculty and staff awards, for publication in Laurels. Send information to

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or