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The Campaign for UC Davis

Office of University Development

UC Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270

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Helping Big Ideas Grow

Philanthropy propels UC Davis innovations.

Manivette Uy

Design student Manivette Uy loads the design department’s new 3-D printer — a purchase that was made possible by a gift from the Shao family and allows UC Davis to be part of a cutting-edge, international design revolution. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

By Sarah Colwell

UC Davis students are joining a revolution sweeping the design world with the arrival this fall of a 3-D printer that can transform their creations from their computers into solid, useable models.

The printer, made possible by a $30,000 gift from Aggie parent donors Howard and Joyce Shao and their daughter Kimberly ’13, is just one example of how philanthropy can be the catalyst for driving big, bold ideas into reality — ideas that can transform the future.

Tim McNeil, chair of the Department of Design, said 3-D printing “democratizes the design process” by allowing individuals to create affordable, custom-designed products.

These printers, which lay down layers of liquid plastic, powder or metal and then fuse the cross sections together into the final shape, are being used around the world to create everything from prosthetic limbs and portable green houses to playable guitars and shoes.

“This gift allows us to seize the moment and move this innovative technology into the classroom,” McNeil said. “It provides us with the best possible design education for our students who will be the ones to advance this technology and make it the future of design.”

hand holding out nested geometric shape--a polyhedron with triangular and pentagonal faces

The 3-D printer allows students to transform creations from their computers into solid, usable models. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The Campaign for UC Davis, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, has propelled innovative programs, research and educational opportunities across campus. Here are some additional examples of how the campaign is helping transform UC Davis into a leading 21st century university:

Innovating wine

UC Davis is home to the world’s first wireless fermentation system because of a recently completed $3.5 million network designed, built and donated by T.J. Rodgers, founder, president and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor.

The assembly of 152 custom 200-liter stainless-steel fermenters allows UC Davis researchers to automate and measure to finite detail elements of the fermentation process — helping ensure wine characteristic and quality.

The system, which was installed for the winery’s first crush in 2010, is now in its third generation. Rodgers and his team of Cypress Semiconductor engineers have continued to fine-tune the equipment to better meet the needs of the winery, known for its environmental and technical sophistication.

“This radically new fermentation system is unlike anything available at the moment to commercial or research wineries,” said Professor Roger Boulton, the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology at UC Davis.

Boulton said Rodger’s donation gives UC Davis a “wine research capacity that has no equal.”

Innovation and law

Two legends, Twitter co-founder Jason Goldman and venture capitalist John Doerr, have been among the speakers at a series of conferences at the School of Law on technology, entrepreneurship, science and law.

The Fenwick and West Technology Entrepreneurship Science and the Law (TESLaw) Lecture Series informs students, scholars, lawyers, and practitioners in management, bioscience, high technology and related fields on how to address challenges in the ever-changing 21st century economy. Fenwick and West, an international law firm, has sponsored the series since 2008.

The annual conferences explore contemporary legal issues within their scientific, social, governmental and business contexts. Topics have included patent law reform, personalized medicine, clean technology and social media.

“Thanks to the support of Fenwick & West, our students learn from the experts about what venture capitalists, technology and life-sciences companies, social entrepreneurs, government agencies and public interest groups need to know in the fields of law, science, technology and entrepreneurship,” said Kevin Johnson, dean of the School of Law.

This article was originally published in UC Davis Magazine.