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Planning team chosen for 2008-09 centennial effort

By Dave Jones on October 27, 2006 in University

You have heard it all before, or maybe you have not — about all the great achievements of UC Davis.

The square tomato, developed for mechanical harvesting, and the harvester itself. Better prenatal vitamins, containing zinc and manganese, to help stave off birth defects. A vaccine for feline leukemia, an important component of subsequent research into a vaccine for AIDS. More than 30 varieties of strawberries and new planting methods for a longer growing season, revolutionizing the industry.

The first robot-assisted device to be used in human surgery. UNITRANS bus service, a joint venture of Associated Students of UC Davis and the city of Davis.

Bob Segar, associate vice chancellor for campus planning, said that when he mentions such successes to campus visitors, their response — without fail — is this: "I had no idea."

But Segar, the lead official on a team in charge of planning the university's centennial celebration in 2008-09, said: "We don't want to be the best-kept secret around anymore."

Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef appointed the planning team. Joining Segar are Mabel Salon, director of Community Relations; and Laurie Lewis, design manager for University Communications.

Together, the three represent a combined 45 years of service at UC Davis: Segar, 17; Salon, an alumna, nine; and Lewis, 19. Lewis' connection to the university goes back even further: Her maternal grandparents and parents worked at UC Davis; her father, the late Dick Lewis, was the Aggie athletic trainer for many years.

Lewis is serving as creative director for the centennial and Salon as program director.

Vanderhoef, at his quarterly brown bag chat with the university community last week, said the centennial is "not just to look back and tout the vitality of the university, but to look forward, at how we can do better."

Indeed, the centennial will be more than a celebration of past glory, Segar said. "We will try to draw connections between the place and its people, and its past and its future," he told the campus Communications Council at a recent meeting.

The centennial will mark the arrival in 1908 of the campus's first students — about 100 in number. The campus was founded in 1906, when a state commission selected Davisville (later shortened to Davis) as the site for a University Farm. The board of regents declared Davis a general campus in 1959.

"Broadly, the centennial is going to be a really big party," Segar said. "But it has to be more than a big party.

"We will try to create a thread from the founding to today, and what the university can become in the future."

He said he envisions a centennial gala and other special events. "But mostly we will be tying together all the events we already have on an annual basis," like Picnic Day, "so that it all adds up to something wonderful."

At the Communications Council meeting, Salon said: "We want to make sure that we have the whole region celebrating with us."

Lewis described the centennial celebration as "an amazing opportunity," and she told the council members: "You are all key to making this happen."

Do you have questions or comments for the centennial planning team? E-mail

Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,