- Honoring exceptional donor stewardship and commitment to philanthropy
- Faculty winner: Selina Wang, Cooperative Extension specialist and Olive Center research director
- Staff winners: Carson Jeffres, Center for Watershed Sciences; and Carlas McCauley, School of Education
For the first time in almost two years, UC Davis presented its Faculty and Staff Stewardship Awards at an in-person ceremony, held Oct. 9, giving the winners their due recognition while surrounded by colleagues and family members.
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations and the UC Davis Foundation gave three awards — one to a faculty member, two to staff members — honoring exceptional donor stewardship and commitment to philanthropy.
“This year’s winners are among the special community of faculty and staff who go beyond their professions to support UC Davis and help advance our philanthropic goals,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations and president of the UC Davis Foundation. “The impact of their efforts will be seen across campus for years to come.”
The winners of the 2021 Faculty and Staff Stewardship Awards are:
- Faculty Award — Selina Wang, research director, Olive Center; and Cooperative Extension specialist, Department of Food Science and Technology
- Staff Award — Carson Jeffres, field and lab director and senior researcher, Center for Watershed Sciences
- Staff Award — Carlas McCauley, director of research and partnerships and executive director of the Resourcing Excellence in Education, or REEd, Center in the School of Education
Selina Wang’s commitment to the UC Davis Olive Center and its donors has been a key factor in the center’s success. Largely thanks to her stewardship efforts, the Olive Center has been fully self-supporting since it was born in 2008. Wang’s dedication to building relationships with corporate partners and within the olive and olive oil industries have also helped maintain the center’s reputation for excellence.
Notably, Wang helped established a relationship with prominent donor and alumnus Firmin Berta, whose family’s giving has now exceeded $1 million to UC Davis. In 2019 the Berta family was recognized for their gifts with the naming of Wang’s research laboratory as the Berta Family Laboratory.
Wang’s expertise in donor stewardship also extends to corporate and industry donations, which have been critical in allowing the Olive Center and Wang Lab to achieve their goal of supporting California food and agriculture.
A special part of Wang’s stewardship is her inclusive relationship-building style — she personally updates donors on research activities and students’ achievements, and encourages students from her lab to send handwritten thank-you cards and letters to donors, allowing them to truly be part of the success of the Olive Center and Wang Lab.
Carson Jeffres’ passion for hands-on donor stewardship and engagement has helped grow a whole network of dedicated UC Davis supporters in Northern California. Jeffres has built relationships with several environmentalists and landowners along the Fall River, where he has been leading a years-long study of trout.
Landowners give support by hosting his team and their equipment, allowing access to their properties for research.
Jeffres maintains personal relationships with them in turn, allowing them to stay connected to campus and up to date on developments in his research. He has invited donors to participate in fish-tagging sessions so they can personally contribute to the research they are supporting. He’s also invited Helene Dillard, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, to tag fish, giving donors an opportunity to connect with her in a casual setting.
Beyond Fall River, Jeffres manages many grants and gifts for his numerous research initiatives studying fish in California’s streams, waterways and agricultural systems. His personal commitment helps ensure that this Northern California community will stay connected with the university for years to come.
Carlas McCauley has played a key role in the School of Education’s mission to build a stronger culture of philanthropy by supporting its strategy, outreach and engagement with donors and new supporters.
Among many of McCauley’s stewardship efforts, he leads the School of Education’s collaboration with the Alice Waters Institute, serves on a national nonprofit board where he makes strong connections with foundation leaders, meets with corporate partners such as the Sacramento Kings and PowerSchool, and engages new potential donors.
McCauley is generous with his time, expertise and connections and is always willing to brainstorm about new engagement strategies. He leads the way in outreach to foundations by taking proposals for discussion and partnerships, and his engagement with current donors allows them to stay connected to UC Davis and feel like a part of its campaign.
McCauley’s professionalism and teamwork has earned the appreciation of Lauren Lindstrom, dean of the School of Education, and Lauren Kidd, assistant vice chancellor of school and unit programs, amng other campus leaders.
Committed to the university’s mission and core principles, McCauley goes the extra mile in coordinating with fellow staff and faculty to form long-term partnerships between UC Davis, partner organizations and the communities where we serve.
- Clémentine Sicard, staff writer, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org