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More Colleges at LaRue buildings named: Honorees to be lauded Saturday for enhancing student experience

By Amy Agronis on November 5, 2004 in University

Three former UC Davis faculty and staff members will be officially honored Saturday during another round of building namings at The Colleges at LaRue.

Buildings and courts in the student residential complex are being named for faculty and staff members who have contributed in outstanding ways to the undergraduate educational experiences of UC Davis students.

In this round of namings, three former campus employees -- John R. Whitaker, Jane C. Elliott and Eugene Davis Stevenson Sr. -- will each have a building in Ruth Anderson Court named after them. The ceremony runs 2-4 p.m. at the complex's Merna Villarejo Community Center.

Speakers are set to include Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef as well as Judy Sakaki, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Fred Wood, interim vice provost for undergraduate studies. A plaque will be hung in the community center to commemorate the recipients, including their contributions.

The Colleges at LaRue is a 450-bedroom complex housing more than 600 students in five thematic "pods." The complex is a joint venture between Tandem Properties and UC Davis.

John Whitaker

A professor emeritus of food science and technology, Whitaker has been known for his commitment to quality advising -- to helping students make career decisions and achieve their academic goals. He arrived on campus in 1956 and served in undergraduate advising both at the department and college levels. Nominators also recognized him for an exemplary record of facilitating opportunities for countless foreign students to come to UC Davis, thus enriching the experience of all students on campus. Whitaker retired in 1992.

Jane Elliott

Elliott, who died in 1993, was a former director of Special Programs and Manager of Minority Services and Programs at UC Davis. She developed the Engineering Summer Residency Program for minority and disadvantaged high school students. And today, alumni of that program come back in the summer as professional engineers and role models for new groups of high school students who follow in their footsteps. Elliott also was the first director of the Minority Engineering Program (later renamed the MESA Engineering Program) and the founder of the Minority Opportunities for Research in Engineering Program and the Women in Engineering Center. She also is remembered and honored with the Jane C. Elliott Scholarship for Undergraduate Students.

Eugene Stevenson

Stevenson, former assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, died in 1995. He was a leader on campus from 1971 to 1981, arriving at a time when student unrest and disruptive forms of protest were escalating across the nation. Stevenson played a key role in bringing students together in meaningful dialogue, helping to ease tensions surrounding cultural changes that resulted from rapid growth and increasing diversity on campus. The first African American to reach the level of assistant vice chancellor at UC Davis, he championed the university's commitment to building a student body that reflected the cultural, ethnic and racial richness of the state.

Past honorees

In 2002, six other faculty and staff were honored with building namings. And in December of 2000 five faculty and staff members were recognized with by having one each of the complex's five courts named after them during a ceremony marking the completion of The Colleges at LaRue.

The buildings in each court are slated to be named in the coming years.

Honorees in 2002 were: Isao Fujimoto, Lucille Hurley, Sumner Morris, Frank Ogasawara, David Risling and Merna Villarejo. Honorees in 2000 were: Ruth Anderson, Robert Matthews, Harry Walker, Marya Welch and Emmy Werner.

Media contact(s)

Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,