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The Campaign for UC Davis

Office of University Development

UC Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270

(530) 754-4438 phone
(530) 754-2294 fax

Cultivating knowledge

Philanthropy supports students, teaching excellence.

Randy Dahlgren, professor and chair of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, inaugural holder of the Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Science and winner of the 2012 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement

(Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

by Sarah Colwell

Garnering support for UC Davis students and faculty members is an important priority for The Campaign for UC Davis, which seeks to inspire 100,000 donors to give $1 billion through 2014.

As of May 5, 89,504 donors contributed more than $797 million through the campaign, more than $100 million of which they directed toward student support — creating more than 1,150 new scholarships, fellowships and awards.

Donors have also directed gifts to support teaching and research excellence at UC Davis by funding endowed chairs and professorships. There are currently 142 endowed chairs and professorships at UC Davis. These prestigious positions — which are created through funds that are permanently invested and provide income in perpetuity — support faculty innovation and discovery and expand the university’s capacity to serve society.

Below are just a few examples of the many ways philanthropy is helping and inspiring UC Davis students and faculty members.

Scholarships helped Andrea Murphy Keaveney ’12 overcome obstacles and earn her degree in design from UC Davis at age 30.

(Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

A dream 12 years in the making

Andrea Murphy Keaveney’s dream of getting a college education has been 12 years in the making — a dream made possible because of scholarship support.

When Keaveney was 18, her father died. Three years later, Keaveney’s mother was diagnosed with stage three cancer. Keaveney put her education on hold to work to support her family. It seemed that every time Keaveney tried to further her education, some new obstacle would arise.

“I decided to go back to school when I realized that things were always going to happen and I decided I couldn’t let those things determine my life,” Keaveney said. “I also wanted to teach my young daughter that she could achieve her dreams if she worked hard.”

Keaveney earned her associate degree and then enrolled in the UC Davis design program. Despite continuing obstacles, Keaveney remained enrolled and was on track to graduate in June 2012 — at age 30 — with a 3.89 GPA.

Keaveney said the moral support she received from the Department of Design and a Carol Lee Coss Memorial Scholarship from the University Farm Circle were vital to her staying enrolled. The scholarship, dedicated to helping UC Davis art and design students, was created by gifts from family and friends of Coss, a longtime member of University Farm Circle. University Farm Circle is a women’s organization founded nearly a century ago to support the campus and student endeavors.

“It’s kind of amazing to think that I was able to go to school because there were people out there who wanted to help people like me go to school,” said Keaveney. Her next dream is to work as a graphic designer for a company that aims to inspire children through design. “Because of the support, I can pursue a job that will make me really happy, and my daughter is going to know that. I hope my accomplishments will make it so she will never think to say, ‘I can’t do that.’”

Rajiv Narayan, left, and other students on the We Are Aggie Pride board of directors promote the student emergency-aid initiative with Gunrock at a recent basketball game.

(Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)

We are Aggie Pride: Students helping students

Support for students comes in many different forms — sometimes from fellow students.

In February, a volunteer board of seven students created We are Aggie Pride to provide financial support to students with emergency needs. The effort is a student-sponsored and administered program within The Campaign for UC Davis. To date, We are Aggie Pride has inspired more than 300 donors to give more than $26,500 to the cause. Support also has been provided by three student organizations — Associated Students of UC Davis, the Student Alumni Association and Picnic Day — as well as the Cal Aggie Alumni Association Board of Directors. Already, We are Aggie Pride has awarded eight UC Davis students a total of more than $11,000 in aid.

“It’s been amazing to see the initial response to the program,” said Rajiv Narayan, member of the all-

student We Are Aggie Pride board of directors. “We thank all of our fellow students and other donors who have contributed. Already we’ve helped students stay on track for graduation by granting the emergency aid.”

Supporting research from the ground up

Endowed funding has made a difference for Randy Dahlgren, professor and chair of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. His students have benefited as well.

Dahlgren is the inaugural holder of the Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Science, an endowment created through a bequest from a cattle rancher who had a scientist’s drive to understand the rangelands. Since the chair was created in 2008, Dahlgren has used the funds to examine nutrient cycling and hydrology on rangeland watersheds, with the goal of preserving the quality of two of the world’s most precious resources — soil and water.

“The ripple effect of philanthropy creates multiple benefits for the work that I do,” Dahlgren said. “The endowment allows me to provide hands-on research experience to both graduate and undergraduate students and to bring new research results into the classroom.”

In addition to being the holder of the Rustici chair, Dahlgren was recently awarded the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. Established in 1986, the $40,000 award honors faculty who are both exceptional teachers and scholars. It was created through philanthropic gifts managed by the UC Davis Foundation and is believed to be the largest of its kind in the country.

“It’s very inspiring to know that the teaching prize is supported by philanthropy,” Dahlgren said. “Not only is it an honor to be recognized in this way, but it’s exciting to know that there are people who think supporting excellence in teaching is just as important as [supporting] excellence in research.”