October 7, 2008
FALL FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 100 YEARS OF UC DAVIS
One hundred years after the first students took up residence at the University of California, Davis, yet another class has arrived: the Centennial Class.
That calls for a celebration, one the university is calling the Centennial Fall Festival. It starts this Friday (Oct. 10) and includes an Academic Showcase, college and school open houses, Pajamarino and homecoming football, and a downtown street fair before concluding next Wednesday (Oct. 15) with the unveiling of the Centennial Walk on the Quad.
Full details of events on- and off-campus are available at
"Aggie Pride is 100 years old, so come help us celebrate," said Assistant Vice Chancellor Bob Segar, extending an invitation to the campus community, alumni, and all the people of Davis and the surrounding region.
You can bet there will be birthday cake: 100 of them, in fact, at Central Park in downtown Davis during the Oct. 12 street fair called Celebrate UC Davis! The Davis Chamber of Commerce and the city of Davis are hosting the event in recognition of the historic partnership between the campus and the community.
The Centennial Fall Festival's first event is the grand opening on Oct. 10 of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, the campus's newest academic complex.
And while the RMI harkens to UC Davis' founding as the University Farm, the Centennial Fall Festival also will emphasize the university's modern-day status as a leading institution for study in all the sciences and the humanities, too.
The Academic Showcase (Friday and Saturday, free) includes a reading by members of the creative-writing faculty, two public-health lectures related to this year's Campus Community Book Project, and a talk on UC Davis' new Landscape Heritage Plan. A full listing of showcase events and locations is available at
A ticketed event at 8 p.m. Friday features an address by Supreme Court scholar and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, appearing in the Mondavi Center's Distinguished Speakers Series. His topic: "One Hundred Years -- A Look Inside the Supreme Court," including mention of events linked to UC Davis history. Tickets: (530) 754-2787 or
(866) 754-2787, or
Around the same time as Toobin's speech, hundreds of students are expected to turn out for Pajamarino, a tradition born on Homecoming Friday night in 1915 when pajama-clad students sneaked out of their dorms and made their way to the Davis train station to greet returning alumni.
Pajamarino, organized by the Cal Aggie Student Alumni Association, is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Amtrak depot near Second and G streets.
After that comes the Aggie Pack bonfire off Garrod Drive south of the Schaal Aquatic Center, starting at about 8 p.m.
The Cal Aggie Alumni Association puts on the Golden Society Brunch from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, welcoming all graduates from the classes of 1958 or earlier.
For Homecoming football, UC Davis takes on Southern Utah at 6 p.m.
Saturday in Aggie Stadium. Tickets are available at tickets.com.
Centennial festivities move off-campus Sunday afternoon for the Celebrate UC Davis! street fair, scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. along Third Street in downtown Davis. Admission is free.
"It is fitting that our organization, which was the driving force in bringing a UC campus to Davis, is the host for this milestone celebration," said Steve Greenfield, board chair of the Davis Chamber of Commerce.
Indeed, the chamber was founded in 1905 to lobby the state Legislature to pick Davisville as the site of the University Farm, a branch of the University of California in Berkeley.
Davisville, of course, eventually became Davis, and the University Farm became UC Davis in 1959. And, along the way, enrollment grew from 18 in 1908-09 to around 30,000 today.
Davis City Council Member Lamar Heystek, who served as a senator in student government while attending UC Davis, said: "Celebrate UC Davis! will serve as a momentous and joyous reminder that Davis has long been a college town. I'm looking forward to an event that celebrates the vibrant history and longevity of our town-gown community."
Police will close Third Street for the festival, and UC Davis departments, the business community and food vendors are due to set up booths between campus and G Street.
Organizers said the festival also will include a wine and beer garden, entertainment, children's area, fashion show and an alternative-energy vehicle expo.
The festival's last day (Oct. 15) is called Centennial Day on the Quad, featuring two annual events, Chamber Day on the Quad and the Activities Faire, plus the dedication of the new Centennial Walk, a spruced-up and widened path in the same place where students walked almost 100 years ago.
Back then, students wore a path in the dirt as they made their way between the West Hall dormitory (where the Memorial Union sits today) and a classroom building where Shields Library is today.
By the early 1930s, the path had been converted to concrete, and the surrounding fields eventually became the Quad. The refurbished walkway is twice the width, at 12 feet, with a circle at the midway point and decorative granite tiles along the edges.
The walkway dedication ceremony is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m.
About the University of California, Davis
For 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 31,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $500 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science -- and advanced degrees from five professional schools -- Education, Law, Management, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine.
* Centennial Fall Festival
* Mondavi Center
* Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533, firstname.lastname@example.org