State of the Campus: ‘A Banner Year’

A By-The-Numbers Look at Chancellor May’s Address

Chancellor Gary S. May speaks at lectern
Chancellor Gary S. May gave his annual State of the Campus address last week. (Alysha Beck/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • In his annual address, Chancellor May highlighted rankings, funding and more
  • UC Davis made gains in new student diversity
  • May expressed gratitude and admiration for faculty members

2023 was “a banner year” for UC Davis that included new rankings, strong research funding and more, Chancellor Gary S. May said last week during his annual State of the Campus address.

“Together, we took great strides toward the university’s mission of advancing scholarship and research,” May said in the remarks, delivered Thursday (Feb. 22) to a meeting of the Academic Senate. “We reached new heights of impact and prestige, all while showing resilience, passion and care for each other.”

He highlighted a number of areas where UC Davis has excelled in the past year, presented here with key figures included in his talk.



6, 1 and 1

That’s where UC Davis falls in some recent, prominent rankings: No. 6 best public university, according to U.S. News & World Report, and No. 1 in veterinary science and agriculture and forestry, according to the QS World University Rankings. Forbes also named UC Davis to its “Best Employers in California” list.


8 years

That’s how long UC Davis has been the most sustainable university in the nation, according to the UI GreenMetric World University rankings.

May called it “one ranking that's an especially big point of pride.”

$111 million

That’s how much UC Davis thus far has committed toward the Big Shift, a project to move from steam to hot water heating for campus buildings. The second half of that funding was approved in 2023, leading May to quip that UC Davis was “where shift happens.”

construction for UC Davis' Big Shift project
This was the scene around UC Davis during the first phase of the Big Shift. On the eve of construction in 2020, the campus lost up to half of the heat generated by its aging steam system. When all phases are complete, pipes will carry hot water instead of steam, which is more efficient and safer to maintain. The shift will save energy, take advantage of renewably generated electricity and reduce fossil fuels and water use. (UC Davis)


That’s how much the university will reduce its use of fossil fuels by 2040, according to the Fossil Fuel-Free Pathway Plan finalized in December.


$1 billion

Chancellor Gary S. May speaks, with PowerPoint slides visible in background
“As a top-tier research institution, we know it's our duty to bring our expertise to bear on the world’s most serious problems,” May said. (Alysha Beck/UC Davis)

For the second year, UC Davis exceeded $1 billion in external research funding, including the largest award, $32.5 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Sean M. Raffuse, associate director of data and software at the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center, to operate its network of about 150 monitors nationwide that collect samples of particles from the atmosphere.


$7.1 billion

That’s UC Davis’ total revenue in 2023-24, up from $3.4 billion in 2010-11. In the same time frame, core funds, or state funding and tuition, have dropped from 19% to 16% of UC Davis’ funding sources since 2010-11.

He cited the IDEA$ at Work campaign, which brought in more than 2,000 suggestions from across campus, as one potential way to improve financial stability moving forward.

Chancellor Gary S. May gestures while speaking.
“All around this room, you’ll find leaders and trailblazers in their respective fields,” May said. “Our faculty are second to none and you continue to take UC Davis to new heights and levels of impact.” (Alysha Beck/UC Davis)



That’s how many students enrolled in UC Davis in fall 2023 — a number that included 10% more freshmen and transfer students as well as 36% underrepresented populations, a 25-year high.

“That Super Bowl commercial for Ring must’ve worked,” May joked, referencing the ad with home security camera footage of a prospective student excitedly shouting, “I got into UC Davis!” Another bonus, according to May: The university didn’t pay for the ad.

Faculty honors

May highlighted some honors from the past year:

Updates on Aggie Square, basic needs

May also gave progress reports on the status of construction at Aggie Square, which is on track to open in the first quarter of 2025, and the ASUCD Pantry, which is preparing to move to a larger space in the Memorial Union.

He also reiterated his gratitude to the faculty members in attendance.

“You are the backbone of this world-class university that drives knowledge and innovation,” he said. “You are role models and mentors who transform lives. I give my utmost appreciation and wish you all the best for 2024.”

Media Resources

Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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