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NEWS BRIEFS: Sal Genito farewell event, Iranian studies expand

By Clifton B. Parker on June 13, 2011 in University

@font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math"; }@font-face { font-family: "Calibri"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; }.MsoPapDefault { margin-bottom: 10pt; line-height: 115%; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }Sal Genito to leave campus

Grounds manager Sal Genito will be leaving UC Davis to take a position at UC San Francisco.

A farewell party will be held for Genito from 1 to 2 p.m. on June 17—his last day on campus—at the Gunrock Pub Patio at the Silo. The Pub will not be open for lunch, but a no host bar will be staffed. To rsvp, send an e-mail to

Genito has accepted a senior facilities management position overseeing the buildings, grounds and housekeeping programs at the UC San Francisco Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses as well as some of the university's off-site facilities.

Since arriving on campus in 1994, Genito has held various leadership roles within facilities management, serving as an integral part of campus operations. He is well known for his entrepreneurial spirit, launching the UC Davis Olive Oil program in 2005.

"I don't know of another example where a university administrative initiative has grown to become an academic program," noted Bob Segar, associate vice chancellor for Campus Planning and Community Resources, in a June 9 e-mail to colleagues. Today, the UC Davis Olive Center is the only such center in North America.

The campus is lined with more than 1,500 olive trees—the fallen olives generate slippery, greasy residues that sometimes result in bicycle accidents. After a particularly messy accident, Genito noticed the smell of olive oil near the scene. That inspired him to undertake a plan to create bottled olive oil from all those fallen olives—helping to save money and avoid lawsuits in the meantime.

The olive oil was a big hit, both on campus and in competitions.

"Sal has always found new ways of working to bring value and pride to the work of his staff and to improve the experience of everyone who touches the UC Davis
campus," said Segar, adding that Genito also volunteered for Aggie football games.

"I'm sure that even San Francisco won't take the Aggie out of Sal, and I look forward to hearing about his new successes and contributions to another UC campus," he added.

Iranian studies gains position

The UC Davis Middle East/South Asia Studies Program will establish its first visiting lecturer in Iranian/Persianate studies, which brings the university closer to its goal of offering a minor in Iranian studies.

“This will surely propel this program to a new level of activity and prominence,” said George R. Mangun, dean of the Division of Social Sciences.

A lecturer will teach Iranian studies courses each year, and the program will expand course offerings on Iran, offer additional conferences and support further academic research in Iranian studies, he said. The program expansion is funded in part by a $250,000 PARSA Community Foundation grant. This grant helps create the first endowed fund in the program, which will provide a secure source of funding that Iranian studies can count on in perpetuity.

The Middle East/South Asia Studies Program was started in 2001 with two faculty and five courses that enrolled more than 300 students. The program gained status as an undergraduate minor in 2004 and became a major in 2008. It now has about 20 teaching faculty and 30 affiliated faculty and offers 80 courses that enroll more than 2,000 students.

The program has expanded from teaching one language, Hebrew, to teaching three languages, adding Arabic and Hindi/Urdu in recent years after the program won a Department of Education grant in 2006.

UC Davis is one of only a handful of universities in the country that offers an undergraduate degree in Middle East/South Asia Studies.

The PARSA Community Foundation is the first Persian community foundation in the United States and the leading Persian philanthropic institution practicing strategic philanthropy and promoting social entrepreneurship around the globe.

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Media contact(s)

Clifton B. Parker, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,