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UC Davis Launches $2 Billion Fundraising Campaign for Student Support, Health, Climate Change and More

By Ashley Han on October 9, 2020 in University

Expect Greater. From UC Davis. For the World.

Quick Summary

  • UC Davis is seeking to raise $2 billion in its second comprehensive 10-figure fundraising campaign
  • “Expect Greater: From UC Davis, for the world” launches its public-facing phase, expanding on the quiet phase that began in July 2016
  • Donor support will fund research, education and discovery

The University of California, Davis, publicly launched a $2 billion fundraising campaign today (Oct. 9), the largest philanthropic endeavor in its history. This bold goal will propel the university’s work to prepare future leaders, sustain healthier communities, and bring innovative solutions to today’s most urgent challenges.

The campaign, “Expect Greater: From UC Davis, for the world,” will harness the power of philanthropy to address defining issues of our time such as pandemic response, climate change, public safety and more.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic and other current events have significantly impacted our community, they have also brought out the best of our unique UC Davis strengths in innovation and collaboration,” Chancellor Gary S. May said. “I’m tremendously proud of the remarkable work that happens here every day — work that our philanthropic partners are central to advancing and elevating.” 

Expect Greater launches at a time of growing philanthropic momentum at UC Davis: The last four years have been the strongest for fundraising in its history. Since the campaign’s quiet phase began in July 2016, the university’s closest donors and friends have given $1.2 billion toward the goal. Now UC Davis is reaching out to the entire university community to help make a greater impact on the world.

“This campaign is so much more than a number,” said Vice Chancellor Shaun Keister, head of Development and Alumni Relations and president of the UC Davis Foundation. “We are securing private support to make tangible change and to impact areas the world needs most by partnering with those who share our vision. One great example is today’s groundbreaking of the Engineering Student Design Center expansion, made possible by an early gift of $5 million from alumnus John Baum and his wife, Mindy.” 

Expertise for California and the world

Team of women perform laparoscopic surgery
Bahareh Nejad leads a robotics assisted surgery at the UC Davis Medical Center. Surgeons use robotics to conduct minimally invasive procedures for better health outcomes. (Wayne Tilcock/UC Davis)

As one of the top 10 public universities in the nation, UC Davis is at the forefront of research, education and discovery, every day fulfilling its land-grant mission to serve California and the world.

Since the start of the campaign, donors have established more than 40 endowed chairs and professorships, demonstrating support for the diverse, world-class faculty who make UC Davis a premier research institution. These positions enable the university to recruit and retain the world’s top minds — faculty who will have the sustained funding to maximize their impact, all while teaching the next generation of change-makers.

In addition, such expertise provides leadership in times of crisis. UC Davis Health made national headlines this year, successfully treating the first case of COVID-19 that was acquired by community spread.

The health system is now conducting more than three dozen COVID-19 related clinical trials, including vaccine trials involving as many as 200 volunteer participants. Other COVID research is happening in 10 areas across the university. In direct response to the ongoing public health crisis, 2,108 donors contributed a total of $322,986 to emergency relief funds from March 1 to June 30.

UC Davis has also been on the front lines of wildfire response, saving lives via research and rescue.

Forestry scientists at UC Davis collaborate to formulate strategies for forest management and ecological rehabilitation in the face of worsening wildfire seasons. And more than 70 interdisciplinary faculty at the Air Quality Research Center tackle the complex subject of atmospheric pollution, including the health effects of inhaling polluted air.

And like every year, the Veterinary Emergency Response Team has performed animal rescues and rehabilitation, plus wellness exams on animals sheltered in place, while the UC Davis Medical Center has treated human burn victims. In August alone, the UC Davis Fire Department contributed nearly 700 person-hours to firefighting efforts on the LNU Lightning Complex Fire and across the West.

Change that begins at college

Student wearing a face covering at Shields Library
Students have adjusted this fall by wearing face masks, social distancing and following other campus health guidelines. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Tomorrow’s leaders are the key to building a better world. Donors have given more than $180 million in this campaign toward student support, enabling full access to a UC Davis college education for thousands of young scholars. This is just one reason UC Davis is the second-best public university for social mobility, according to Washington Monthly’s annual assessment of U.S. schools based on what they do for the public good.

Even with this year’s transition to remote learning, students continue to have access to resources and services they need for a successful college experience.

Donors support students’ undergraduate educations via programs that offer academic guidance, experiential learning opportunities and robust career preparation. Programs like Aggie Launch and Aggie EVO help students solidify their goals and land meaningful careers after graduation.

“I am so incredibly grateful for all the donors who contribute to scholarships because they have given me countless opportunities to learn and grow,” said English major Victoria Choi ’21. “My scholarship has allowed me to have a world-class education as well as gain leadership skills in various organizations on campus like Aggies Helping Aggies and the Picnic Day board.” 

Solutions for today and tomorrow 

Student harvests peppers at the Student Farm.
Daniella Schoenfeld, a sustainable agriculture and food systems major, harvests peppers from the Student Farm for UC Davis Dining Services in 2019. Many vegetables from the Student Farm go from the field straight to the kitchens of the university. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Across the university, donor-supported initiatives are offering actionable solutions to today’s most formidable challenges.

As a world-leading agricultural school, UC Davis is where students, faculty and researchers are working together to revolutionize farming and sustainability efforts using innovative technologies. Through the donor-supported Smart Farm and One Climate initiatives, UC Davis is developing state-of-the-art techniques for growing food and reversing climate change in order to sustain healthy communities for generations to come.

The School of Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing are advancing telehealth and care for older adults through the donor-supported Healthy Aging in a Digital World. And with philanthropic support, the Center for Violence Prevention Research is on the leading edge of public safety, gathering and analyzing data to inform policymakers of the most effective ways to curb violence. 

With the world’s No. 1 veterinary medical school and a comprehensive medical center, UC Davis is uniquely positioned to conduct groundbreaking research at the nexus of human and animal medicine — the focus of the university’s donor-supported One Health Institute.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, veterinary and health researchers quickly began collaborating on diagnostic and vaccine testing. And PREDICT — One Health’s pandemic prevention and response program — is part of an international effort to provide emergency support to collaborating countries in response to coronavirus spread.

The Aggie difference

UC Davis’ culture of giving lives on in alumni near and far. Every year thousands of alumni give their time, expertise and funds to their alma mater.

Two proud alumni are Darryl Goss ’83, UC Davis Foundation chair, and his wife, Lois ’88, who serves on the College of Letters and Science Dean’s Advisory Council and the Women & Philanthropy Advisory Council.

“Lois and I are honored to give our philanthropic support to the next generation of Aggies, who always go on to make a difference in so many ways,” Darryl Goss said. “UC Davis is where we received the education we needed to achieve our dreams, and today we’re proud to give back to this bold vision.”

Expect Greater is UC Davis’ second comprehensive 10-figure fundraising campaign following the 2006-14 Campaign for UC Davis, which raised $1 billion for student scholarships, graduate fellowships, patient care, teaching and research.

Media contact(s)

Melissa Blouin, News and Media Relations, 530-752-2542, cell 530-564-2698, mlblouin@ucdavis.edu

Rebecca Furtado, Development and Alumni Relations, 530-754-2017, rafurtado@ucdavis.edu

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