UC Davis Chancellor, Sacramento Mayor Earn Leadership Award for Aggie Square

A Unique Partnership, Campus-Community Focused

Three men, posed, two holding trophies
Accolades in Atlanta: Pictured, from left, Mark Romney, chief strategy officer for Aggie Square; Mayor Darrell Steinberg; and Chancellor Gary S. May.

Quick Summary

  • Association of University Research Parks presents Leadership Award to Chancellor May, Mayor Steinberg
  • They’re matching UC Davis’ strengths to community priorities and engages relevant industry partners
  • Presentation takes place at Atlanta’s Tech Square, a place Chancellor May knows well

Chancellor Gary S. May of the University of California, Davis, and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg on Wednesday (Nov. 6) received a national award for their work on the Aggie Square innovation hub planned on UC Davis’ Sacramento campus.

The Leadership Award from the Association of University Research Parks, or AURP, recognizes May and Steinberg for forging a unique partnership that matches UC Davis’ strengths to community priorities and engages relevant industry partners to create opportunities for all, unlike many other research parks that focus exclusively on startups or narrowly focused industries.

“This recognition gives us extra confidence we’re not just on the right track with Aggie Square, we’re on the cusp of doing something transformative for the greater Sacramento region,” May said. “Mayor Steinberg and his team have been by our side through the whole process and have helped us see the possibilities of what we can accomplish.”

The award presentation took place during the AURP’s international conference, Accelerating Innovation: People, Programs, Places, held at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Tech Square in midtown Atlanta. Chancellor May knows Tech Square well. As Georgia Tech’s dean of engineering, before coming to UC Davis, he played a role in Tech Square’s development. He’s now using his experiences seeding and fostering that “innovation ecosystem” to inform the plans for Aggie Square.


Mayor Steinberg said: “We have the opportunity with Aggie Square to take the best of what we know about creating career pathways and use it to build a model that will provide new opportunities for young people in our neighborhoods.

“I thank Chancellor May for enthusiastically embracing this vision, which goes far beyond the usual handful of internships.”

The AURP Leadership Award, given to two people for the first time, recognizes business, higher education, government or community leaders who have made significant and substantial contributions to the creation, development and/or regional impact of a research park, science park or innovation district affiliated with one or more institutions of higher education.

Brian Darmody, chief executive officer of the AURP, noted the association is keeping track of “this amazing project’s progress,” thanks to updates from AURP board member Mark Romney, chief strategy officer for Aggie Square, and director of research, development and industry alliances for UC Davis Health. 

“We are thrilled that the two leading members of the community are being honored today for their role in making it happen,” Dermody said.

In June, UC Davis issued a request for qualifications to developers interested in financing, designing, building, owning and managing the first phase of Aggie Square. Officials narrowed the candidates to four and have asked them for proposals; one of them is due to be selected in December. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2021.

Media Resources

David Wescott, Strategic Communications, 530-304-0611, dwescott@ucdavis.edu

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