Davis: Colleges and Schools
College of Agricultural
and Environmental Sciences
College of Engineering
School of Law
College of Letters and Science
Graduate School of Management
School of Medicine
School of Veterinary Medicine
College of Agricultural and
In 1905, the legislature appropriated funds
to buy a "University Farm" to provide a place to teach scientific
and practical agriculture and to provide a site more typical than
Berkeley for research in California agriculture. The Davis campus,
initially known as the University Farm and later as the Branch of
the College of Agriculture, was administered by an assistant dean
who reported directly to the dean at Berkeley. Formal instruction
began in January, 1909. There were 18 farm school students, five
degree students from Berkeley, and five special students.
By 1920, courses were available for degree students
to complete their junior year at Davis and by 1922, lower division
courses were available for students who wished to complete their
first two years as well. It was soon possible for degree students
to complete all requirements for graduation in several majors. Graduate
study followed, initially in cooperation with the Berkeley faculty.
The College of Agriculture at Davis was established
on July 1, 1952 as a part of the reorganization plan of the University
which was approved by the Regents on March 30, 1951. The reorganization
of all the University's agricultural activities by the establishment
of a University-wide Division of Agricultural Sciences under the
direction of the Vice President for Agricultural Sciences, Harry
R. Wellman, was approved by the Regents on September 19, 1952. This
provided for coordination of the teaching and research on the four
campuses which had agricultural programs. Fred N. Briggs was the
first dean of agriculture and assistant director of the Agricultural
Experiment Station. James H. Meyer was named dean and associate
director in 1963.
When the college was established there were 17
departments, ten of which operated initially as joint departments
with Berkeley. Three departments--nematology, biochemistry and biophysics,
and animal physiology--were later added. In 1952, these departments
supervised ten curricula with 20 majors. Four curricula were added,
including agricultural business management, agricultural production,
international agricultural development, and range management. In
1965, the faculty revised and consolidated curricula to include
agricultural biosciences, agricultural economics and business management,
agricultural education and development, agricultural science and
management, family and consumer sciences, food science, and soil
and water science.
Curricular changes were considered jointly by
the campuses involved in agricultural programs. Improvements followed
advances in agriculture and the basic sciences related to agriculture.
This tended toward more and more specialization and resulted in
neglecting general education, especially in the social sciences
and other humanities. To correct this, the Davis faculty voted on
May 24, 1962 to require a minimum of 24 units in agriculture and
closely related subjects, 24 units in the natural and physical sciences,
24 units in the social sciences, and 16 units of free electives
for each curriculum. This left 36 units for meeting major requirements
and other prerequisites.
The greatest growth in staff followed World War
II. In 1952, there were 233 budgeted full-time equivalent academic
positions in agriculture. This increased to 388 by 1964-65. This
growth was required for teaching in more specialized areas of agriculture
and some of the sciences basic to agriculture and was also a response
to research needs. The continued expansion of responsibility in
these two areas led the Regents to designate the Davis campus as
the principal center for agricultural teaching and research in a
statement of policy at their meeting on October 23, 1959.
When the college was established in 1952, there
were 252 non-degree, 645 undergraduate, and 147 graduate students
enrolled. By the fall semester, 1964-65, there were 1,019 undergraduate
and 598 graduate students. Three hundred and twenty-six of the graduate
students were working for the Ph.D. degree. source
College of Engineering
The College of Engineering traces its history back to 1915, when
a Division of Agricultural Engineering was organized under the leadership
of J.B. Davidson. Although in the early days of the University Farm
most students at Davis preferred the two-year non-degree program,
degree work in engineering was offered in cooperation with UC Berkeley
In 1959-60 the Kerr Commission determined that California needed
an additional engineering school and that Davis was the logical
site. Authorized as a separate college in 1962, the College of Engineering
initially functioned as a single unit without separate departments.
Roy Bainer, who had been on campus since 1929, became the first
dean of the college. The first year there were 200 undergraduate
students, 42 graduate students, 20 faculty members, and about 100
classes. Majors were available in agricultural engineering, chemical
engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical
engineering. In 1963, at the instigation of Edward Teller, the Department
of Applied Science was organized at the Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory. This graduate department was designed to interact with
the national laboratory but was administered through Davis.
In the years between 1962 and 1967, 65 faculty members were hired,
while student enrollment grew to 650. Before long the complexity
of administering the increasingly large college required that it
be reorganized along standard departmental lines. Chemical engineering
was the first department (1964-65), but by 1965-66, the college
had departments of agricultural, chemical, civil, electrical, and
mechanical engineering, besides the Department of Applied Science.
In 1966 the college was granted full accreditation.
The space problems that were to haunt the college for decades began
in the early 1960s. In 1967 Bainer Hall was opened, greatly expanding
the previous quarters of the college in Walker Hall, but the college
soon outgrew this new building, and temporary quarters were provided
with leased trailer-type units. Planning for Engineering II began,
but it was not completed until 1993. Construction of Engineering
III began in 1998, with occupancy slated for the fall of 2000.
Undergraduate enrollments continued to grow faster than anticipated,
especially given the nationwide decline in engineering enrollments
in the late sixties. By 1969, when John D. Kemper became the second
dean of the college, more than a thousand engineering undergraduates
were enrolled. By 1975 the number had jumped to 1580, and the college
was receiving many more applications than it could admit. Meanwhile,
the college began a concomitant effort to diversify the pool of
engineering students. The Engineering Summer Residency Program,
targeting high school students from under-represented groups, began
in 1975, followed by the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science
Achievement) program in 1983. The MORE (Minority Opportunities for
Research in Engineering) program began in 1987, and the Center for
Women in Engineering in 1991.
In 1983 Mohammed S. Ghausi became the third dean of the college.
The major challenges of the 1980s and 1990s were in the area of
research funding and improving public recognition of the strengths
of the college. Ghausi launched an ambitious multiyear "Silver
Anniversary Campaign," which eventually raised over $54 million
for college improvements. He also was instrumental in creating several
engineering support groups, including the Board of Visitors and
the Industrial Affiliates.
As engineering disciplines have matured, some realignments of departments
have taken place. In 1992 the Department of Civil Engineering became
the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Department
of Agricultural Engineering was renamed the Department of Biological
and Agricultural Engineering. In 1992 the computer science faculty
split away from the Department of Electrical Engineering to create
a new Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical
and Computer Engineering. The materials science program moved from
the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering to the
Department of Chemical Engineering in 1993.
In 1996 Alan J. Laub became the fourth dean of the college. By
1999 extramural research funding reached $43 million, undergraduate
enrollments were about 2,700, and graduate enrollments over 700.
The UC Davis College of Engineering is currently ranked in approximately
the top ten percent of engineering schools in the nation. source
School of Law
In July 1962, the Regents of the University of California decided
to expand publicly supported legal education in California by creating
a new law school on the UC Davis campus. Academic and physical planning
for the new law school began immediately. In 1964 Edward L. Barrett
Jr., a UC Berkeley law faculty member, was appointed the school's
founding dean. He selected law professor Daniel J. Dykstra as the
school's first faculty member and Mortimer D. Schwartz as its first
librarian. In 1971 Dykstra became the law school's second dean,
followed by Pierre R. Loiseaux (1974-78), Richard C. Wydick (1978-80),
Florian Bartosic (1980-90), Ellen R. Jordan (1991-92), Bruce A.
Wolk (1993-95), and Rex R. Perschbacher (1998-present).
In the fall of 1966, the School of Law began operating in temporary
buildings with an initial entering class of 78 and a faculty of
four. The law school almost immediately attained full national accreditation
from the American Bar Association and membership in the Association
of American Law Schools. The school's permanent building was completed
in the fall of 1968 and named after Martin Luther King Jr. in recognition
of his efforts to achieve social and political justice for the poor
and disadvantaged by lawful and orderly means. Earl Warren, Chief
Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court and former governor of California,
presided over the dedication ceremonies on April 12, 1969. That
spring, the law school graduated its first class of 68 students.
From its founding, King Hall combined a rigorous academic program
in law with strong interdisciplinary studies and pioneering programs
in clinical legal education. By 1969-70, the law school offered
clinical programs on Legal Problems of the Prison Inmate, the Selective
Service System, Legislation, and Criminal Law. In 1981 the law school
established one of the nation's first clinical programs addressing
the problems of immigrants. Currently King Hall operates nationally
recognized programs in immigration law, prison law, civil rights
and family protection, plus environmental law, federal taxation,
public interest law, legislative process, employment relations,
and administration of criminal justice. Early support through a
Ford Foundation grant created the Center for the Administration
of Criminal Justice, a joint law and social science program.
Today the law school is recognized for its international and environmental
law programs, the latter ranked in the top 20 nationwide. The last
decade has seen a major expansion of international programs. Together
with University Extension, King Hall has cosponsored a four-week
summer program for lawyers and judges from around the world, the
Orientation in USA Law Program. In 1996 the law school created its
LL.M. degree program aimed at students educated outside the United
States. An innovative part-time working professional Master's Degree
in International Commercial Law nears final approval.
By remaining relatively small, King Hall has earned a reputation
for excellent teaching, highlighted each year by the William and
Sally Rutter teaching award. The student body has been notable for
sponsorship of public interest activities, including creation of
a public interest loan repayment fund, the Perfect Tender infant
care co-op, and weeklong programs honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.
and Cesar Chavez. In recent years the law school has been nationally
recognized for quality of student life and ranked at the top of
its cohort in supporting women students.
King Hall today has 38 full-time faculty, 15 to 20 adjunct faculty
who teach in specialty areas, and a student body of 515. The law
library's holdings exceed 260,000 volumes. The addition of new faculty
members in recent years promises to continue King Hall's traditions
of innovative and creative scholarship, diverse faculty and student
body, commitment to public service, and supportive learning environment.
College of Letters
The College of Letters and Science was established
at Davis in 1951 in recognition of the need for broadening the scope
of campus offerings to provide students the opportunity to choose
a well-rounded, general education program. Herbert A. Young, professor
of chemistry, was appointed the first dean of the new college, and
served in this capacity from 1951 to 1964.
Before 1951, instruction in the basic natural
sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences was provided,
primarily for the benefit of undergraduate majors in agriculture,
by faculty members of divisions within the College of Agriculture.
A number of these divisions became departments in the new College
of Letters and Science. In the fall of 1951, 76 students enrolled
as letters and science majors.
By the fall of 1964, the undergraduate enrollment
in the college increased to 3,431. By 1965 the number of departments
increased from the initial figure of 14 to 29, and there were approximately
325 faculty members. At that time undergraduate majors leading to
the B.A. or B.S. degrees were offered in 29 different fields which
were more or less traditional for students of the liberal arts or
basic sciences. Instruction leading to the M.A. or M.S. degrees
was offered in 24 fields. Instruction leading to the Ph.D. degree
was offered in 13 fields.
Through the years, the Davis campus developed
strong teaching and research programs in the biological sciences.
With maturity, the College of Letters and Science developed comparable
strength in the humanities, social, and physical sciences. A significant
number of the faculty received Guggenheim fellowships, and one member
of the history faculty was a 1965 Pulitzer prize winner. Among the
organized research units of the college was the Crocker Nuclear
Research Laboratory, which sponsored the construction of a 70-inch
cyclotron for low energy nuclear research. Others included the Institute
of Governmental Affairs, the Laboratory for Research in the Fine
Arts and Museology, and the Agricultural History Center. source
Graduate School of Management
A graduate program in business on the UC Davis campus was first
proposed in 1965. Although the Board of Regents approved the program
in 1966, it was not until 1978 that the Graduate School of Administration
received final approval from the UC Davis campus. Alexander F. McCalla,
professor of agricultural economics and administration, served as
acting dean from 1979 to 1981 and was responsible for the school's
initial organization and development. He hired the first two permanent
faculty members in 1980.
The two-year graduate program leading to the degree of Master of
Administration provided both entry-level and midcareer students
with an understanding of management approaches to problem solving
and an awareness of the environment within which public and private
management decisions are made. The second year of the program allowed
students to select from four concentrations: business management,
management of public programs, financial management, or environmental
and natural resource management.
In 1981 Gary M. Walton, professor of economics and dean at the
University of Miami, was named the first dean of the Graduate School
of Administration. The program's charter class of 40 students was
admitted that year. During the 1980s, the Graduate School of Administration
focused on bringing technology to the classroom. Thanks to two grants
from Hewlett-Packard Corporation, the school's Information Systems
Laboratory (ISL), exclusively for management students, was extensively
expanded and upgraded.
By 1989 the school had experienced significant growth, to a total
of 15 faculty members and 116 students. During this year the name
of the school was changed to the Graduate School of Management (GSM).
Robert H. Smiley, then associate dean at the Johnson Graduate School
of Management, Cornell University, was appointed as the school's
Through the years, the GSM has established joint degree programs
with other academic and professional units at UC Davis, including
the College of Engineering (1982), School of Law (1984), Department
of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine (1990), Department of
Agricultural Economics (1996), and School of Medicine (1997). As
the school has matured, the profile of entering students has changed.
In 1989, GSM students had an average grade point average of 3.3
and an average score of 630 on the Graduate Management Admissions
Test (GMAT). Students entered the program with three to five years
of work experience and came from a variety of backgrounds including
accounting, engineering, biotechnology, marketing, information systems,
and the public sector. In 1999, the average GMAT score for entering
students had increased to 675, and students entered the program
with approximately five years of work experience.
Today, the Graduate School of Management includes 25 faculty, 130
full-time students, 290 working professional students, and over
1,000 alumni. Entering students are able to choose from 10 areas
of management concentration or create their own concentration tailored
specifically to their interests. Full-time students have the opportunity
to participate in international exchange programs in Italy, Hong
Kong, Mexico, Holland, France, Germany, and Finland. GSM faculty
members have become well known in their fields of research and are
often contacted by media to give expert opinions on current business
More than 85 prominent regional corporations currently participate
in the School's Business Partnership program, providing unrestricted
financial support. The Dean's Advisory Council, composed of 45 regionally
influential business executives, also supports the school with advice
and monetary contributions. Every year since 1996, U .S. News and
World Report has ranked the GSM as one of the nation's top MBA programs.
School of Medicine
Recognizing the rapidly expanding population of California and in
response to state mandate, the Regents of the University of California
in 1963 authorized the establishment of a four-year medical school
at UC Davis. In 1965, Chancellor Mrak identified C. John Tupper,
M.D., a young associate dean at the University of Michigan Medical
School, as the leading candidate for the founding dean's position.
Tupper arrived in Davis to take charge in February 1966.
Dean Tupper took on the challenge of developing a completely new
medical school with vigor and foresight. Within six months, construction
was started on several temporary buildings that became the first
offices, lecture halls, and laboratories of the school, and an affiliation
agreement was signed with the then-Sacramento County Hospital, which
would serve as the School's primary clinical teaching facility until
such time as a new university teaching hospital could be built.
With remarkable speed, Tupper recruited the first seven faculty
members to help develop the new curriculum. By the fall of 1968,
nearly 70 faculty members had been recruited.
In 1968, the first class, consisting of 48 students, was recruited
from 564 applicants, and on September 30, 1968, instruction began.
The curriculum was innovative, offering mostly multidisciplinary
teaching, clinical problem solving, and sufficient free time to
encourage initiative among the students. The faculty was also responsible
for teaching 15 Ph.D. candidates, 32 rotating interns, and 30 residents
at the renamed Sacramento Medical Center.
Despite the setbacks of failed health bond issues in the 1970s,
the school continued to grow and develop, increasing class size
to100 by 1971. When it became clear that a new university hospital
would not be built, negotiations began with the County of Sacramento
to purchase the Sacramento Medical Center. After renovations and
operational improvements the county facility was renamed the University
of California, Davis Medical Center in 1978.
In 1977 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark Bakke decision,
clarifying the admission policies of the school after a legal challenge
by a rejected applicant. In 1979 Tupper stepped down as dean, and
Hibbard E. Williams, an internist and endocrinologist from Cornell
University Medical College, was recruited as dean in 1980. The school
continued to grow during the 1980s with the near-doubling of its
faculty, a major increase in its research budget, and the addition
of new research programs. A phased reduction in class size to 93
occurred in the mid-1980s in response to national mandates. During
this time, a major expansion of the UC Medical Center took place
under the leadership of Director Frank Loge.
In 1992 Dean Williams stepped down, and Dr. Gerald Lazarus was
recruited from the University of Pennsylvania to become the next
dean. A strategic plan was developed, growth continued at the Sacramento
campus, a Shriner's Hospital was constructed adjacent to the Medical
Center, and the school's national reputation grew considerably.
In 1996 Dr. Joseph Silva, chairman of the school's Department of
Internal Medicine, became dean. A new planning process was initiated
to help the school position itself for the next century and to continue
its distinction as one of the nation's outstanding comprehensive
medical schools. source
School of Veterinary Medicine
The University of California first established a College of Veterinary
Medicine in San Francisco in 1894, but that enterprise closed in
1899. In 1901 a Division of Veterinary Sciences was established
in the College of Agriculture at Berkeley, and a few years later
a branch of the Division was established at the University Farm.
In 1946 the present School of Veterinary Medicine was founded on
the Davis campus, absorbing the UC Berkeley program. In 1948 ground
was broken for the school's first major building (later named Haring
Hall), and in 1950 it was occupied. The first class of 42 Doctors
of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), all men and mostly from farm and ranch
backgrounds, graduated in 1952. At that time the veterinary profession
was almost exclusively focused on livestock health concerns.
Since 1952 the school has graduated more than 4,200 DVM and developed
another professional degree program, the Master of Preventive Medicine
(MPVM) program, which has graduated more than 750 alumni from 75
different countries. The faculty has grown from its modest beginnings
of 32 members to more than 300, and staff numbers have grown from
a handful to more than 800. The resident training program, which
began in the late 1960s with five interns/residents, has grown to
90 residents in 28 different disciplines. The first graduate student
(M.S. and Ph.D.) were accepted in the 1950s; many of them went on
to become members of the Davis faculty. By 1960 the program had
grown to 40 graduate students, and by 2000 to 140 enrolled in 17
different graduate groups. As the scope and scale of instructional
programs have become multidimensional, the annual student population
in all four programs has risen to about 740. The current entering
DVM class consists of 80 percent women, in sharp contrast to earlier
The school's programs, once totally contained in Haring Hall, are
currently spread among 40 different buildings around the campus.
In contrast with the total 1948 budget of $350,000, the current
budget of $125 million includes some $60 million in research support.
In earlier days an average animal exam consisted of checking the
heart, lungs, and temperature, and a certain amount of educated
guesswork based on symptoms. Many diagnoses of livestock problems
were made on the necropsy table. The symptomatic animal was often
sacrificed to save the rest of the herd. Today advanced treatments
are commonly used (diagnostic tests, surgical techniques, and vaccines)
that were nonexistent in 1948. A single blood sample can rule out
50 diseases in a matter of minutes, and ultrasound, nuclear scintigraphy,
MRIs, radiation therapy, and kidney dialysis are routine. Campus
veterinarians conduct organ transplants and hip replacements, fix
broken bones, and restore sight through eye surgery. Infectious
diseases are much better understood, and prevention has become policy.
Food safety concerns have moved onto the farm to prevent contamination
at the farm source, and individual animal medicine for livestock
has given way to population health and herd medicine.
Human health has become an important focus of many veterinary activities.
The faculty promotes the "one medicine" concept, with
basic and clinical veterinary scientists joining with medical school
faculty to work on cross-species health problems including Lyme
disease, diabetes, brain tumors, asthma, and AIDS. Research efforts
are largely organized around 15 common research centers, and health
scientists collaborate to obtain support, maximize resources, and
take advantage of each other's expertise.
The current caseload at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
(VMTH) is 30,000 cases per year, 80 percent of which are companion
animals. VMTH staff now do in one month what the VMTH was originally
designed to do in a year. The school is currently deeply engaged
in efforts to increase working space, funding, and faculty resources
for anticipated growth in the immediate future. source