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LAURELS: Pitzer Center Named a ‘Best’ Project

By Dateline Staff on November 21, 2017 in University

Quick Summary

  • Design and Construction Management’s Debra Smith and Phil Ruiz described as key to Pitzer Center success
  • Association for Computing Machinery recognizes John Owens’ significant scientific contributions to computing
  • John Muir Institute of the Environment names inaugural class of fellows: five faculty members and a senior staff researcher

UC Davis’ Ann E. Pitzer Center made the Sacramento Business Journal’s list of “Best Real Estate Projects” for 2017. Design and Construction Management (DCM) oversaw the project from planning through construction.

Julianne Nola, director of major capital projects in DCM, credited Debra Smith, project manager, and Phil Ruiz, general inspector, as key players in making the Pitzer Center a “best” project, by providing “a lot of brain power, dedication and day-to-day problem solving.”

She also cited the Department of Music’s Stephen Bingen (recording engineer), Phil Daley (events manager) and Josh Paterson (production manager) for their help “in working out a myriad of details with the design and construction team to make this project successful.”

The building, dedicated at the beginning of fall quarter 2016, comprises 17,500 square feet, including a 399-seat Recital Hall and practice rooms. But the Pitzer Center isn’t just for music majors — as other classes also are held there.

The Business Journal described the two-story entrance-lobby with its floor-to-ceiling windows and fixed seating as “spacious and well-lit,” and noted how the space had been “designed spatially and acoustically to accommodate large events and also to act as an informal gathering space for students.”

Other credits: LPAS Architecture and Design, Sacramento and San Francisco; and Kitchell, general contractor, with offices in Sacramento and elsewhere across the nation.


Professor John Owens, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery for his significant scientific contributions to computing. Owens’ current research focuses on the use of graphics hardware for general-purpose computation.


3 mugshots
Hernandez, Lewin and Maiorana
3 mugshots
Margolis, Post and Willis

The John Muir Institute of the Environment recently announced its inaugural class of Muir Institute fellows — five faculty members and a senior staff researcher, each of whom has been awarded seed funding for innovative efforts benefiting people and the planet.

“From clean energy research to research addressing the overarching challenges of conflict and cooperation in society, the group of fellows demonstrate our unique interdisciplinary DNA — leveraging expertise of all of UC Davis’ colleges and professional schools,” said Benjamin Houlton, director of the Muir Institute.

The fellows for 2017:

  • Rebecca Hernandez, assistant professor, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
  • Harris Lewin, distinguished professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology and the Genome Center
  • Tom Maiorana, assistant professor, Department of Design.
  • Helene Margolis, associate adjunct professor, School of Medicine
  • Eric Post, professor, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology
  • Ann Willis, senior staff researcher and communications director, Center for Watershed Sciences

Read more about the Muir Institute fellows here.


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

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or dljones@ucdavis.edu. Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

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