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Poet, Software Pioneer Receive UC Davis Innovation Awards

By AJ Cheline on June 1, 2017 in University

Ralph J. Hexter, interim chancellor of the University of California, Davis, today (June 1) announced the recipients of the first two of the university's 2017 Chancellor’s Innovation Awards: The Innovative Community Partner of the Year award goes to Vivek Ranadivé and the Sacramento Kings organization, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation goes to poet Gary Snyder, professor emeritus of English.

The UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Awards recognize faculty, community partners and industry leaders for their work, dedication and success in improving the lives of others and addressing the needs of our global society either through innovations in technology or innovative social engagement.

“Innovation is key to UC Davis and our impressive record of excellence in research, creative work, health care, and education — all of which helps to make the world a better place,” said Hexter. “The credit goes to a university environment that encourages innovation; campus programs that facilitate innovation; and most of all, our superb faculty, who have the passion, expertise, and imagination to create new ways to benefit people around the world and advance the health of our planet.”

Innovative Community Partner Award

This award is given to a leader or organization in recognition of significant contributions to driving regional economic impact in the preceding year through innovation, entrepreneurship or support for growing the startup ecosystem in collaboration with UC Davis.

Ranadivé, owner and chairman of the Kings, was an early innovator in big data and real-time technology. In the late 1980s, he changed how the financial industry operated when his first company, Teknekron Software Solutions, digitized trading on Wall Street. His second company, TIBCO, pioneered the use of real-time event processing software to create technology that powers communications among entities, manufacturers, governments and organizations across the globe.

“Vivek Ranadivé deserves this year’s Innovative Community Partner Award for several reasons,” said Interim Provost Kenneth Burtis. “He is a pioneer in the fields of big data and real-time technology, he is an important force for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship both in the private sector and at UC, and he is actively engaged in helping UC researchers translate their discoveries to real-world impact.”  

Ranadivé is an active member of the UC Davis Chancellor’s Board of Advisors and is a strong supporter of innovation and entrepreneurship across the entire University of California system. Last year, he co-founded Bow Capital, a venture capital firm focused on investing in value-driven startups, specifically including those derived from UC campuses.

His NBA team, the Kings, recognized as one of the most innovative companies in sports, has created economic growth and revitalization in downtown Sacramento and the greater Sacramento region. For the past two years, the Kings organization has co-hosted Capitalize, a competition to help local startups take their innovations to the next step toward the global marketplace. In 2017, seven of the 16 finalists in this March Madness-styled competition were UC Davis-affiliated startups.

“The Chancellor’s Innovation Awards are an important way for us to celebrate the drivers of innovation at UC Davis and to recognize the contributions of members of the community who inspire tomorrow’s innovators and work in close partnership with us to build a robust environment for regional innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor of research and executive director of Venture Catalyst at UC Davis. “Vivek’s tireless efforts have woven innovation into the very fabric of the Sacramento Kings organization and into the heart of Sacramento. We are thrilled to recognize him and the Kings for their dedication to supporting University of California entrepreneurs and to working with us to enhance the UC Davis innovation engine.”

Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation

This award recognizes an acknowledged innovator whose career accomplishments include innovations that have led to a long-term positive impact on the lives of others and who is an inspiring influence for other innovators.

As a poet, essayist, lecturer and environmental activist. Snyder's impact is wide ranging and truly profound. His clear, simple style of writing focuses on Zen Buddhism, the natural world and environmental concerns. He has been described as the poet laureate of deep ecology.

Snyder, who taught in the English department from 1986 to 2001, has written more than 20 books of poetry and prose, with his works translated into more than 20 languages.

“Gary Snyder’s poetry is widely revered, and UC Davis has always taken great pride in calling him one of our own,” Hexter said. “But I believe that many feel, as I do, that his work’s profound and quiet contemplation of the natural world and the smallest and largest contexts of our existence has never been more valuable, or needed, than it is now.”

Snyder’s collection of poems, Turtle Island (Turtle Island is the Native American name for the North American continent) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 and went on to sell more than 100,000 copies. Snyder won an American Book Award in 1984 for Axe Handles and in 1987 was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His 1992 collection, No Nature, was a National Book Award finalist. In 1997 Snyder was awarded Yale’s Bollingen Prize for Poetry and the John Hay Award for Nature Writing. In 1998 he became the first American to receive the Buddhism Transmission Award in Japan. In 2008 he received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and in 2012 the Wallace Stevens Award. From 2003 to 2009, he held the position of chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Snyder’s life and work are celebrated in John J. Healy's 2010 documentary, The Practice of the Wild, and his most recent volume of poems, This Present Moment, was published in 2015.

Innovator of the Year Awards: June 8

The Chancellor’s Innovation Awards also include two Innovator of the Year Awards, acknowledging individual faculty, staff or teams for their achievements or impact in the preceding year. Recipients of the Innovator of the Year Award will be announced at an awards ceremony on June 8, where all recipients of the Chancellor’s Innovation Awards will be recognized.

Media contact(s)

AJ Cheline, UC Davis Office of Research, 530-752-1101, acheline@ucdavis.edu

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