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On This Day: November 25, 1975

November 25th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s feature in our On This Day series takes us to the November 25, 1975 dedication of Kerr Hall. Kerr Hall, completed in 1969, was originally known as Academic Office Building (AOB) #3. The building was designed by Frederick L.R. Confer & Associates of Concord.

The dedication program included remarks by Chancellor Meyer and Chancellor Mrak, Jerome Rosen, Chairman of the Davis Academic Senate, and Mrs. Edward Heller, Chairman of the Regents of the University of California. Clark Kerr’s address was titled, “Higher Education: The Year 2000.”

Clark Kerr (1911-2003) served as Professor of Industrial Relations (1945-1952) and Chancellor (1952-1958) at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1958, he was appointed President of the University of California, a position he held until 1967.

At the time of the building’s dedication in 1975, it contained offices for the following departments and units: Economics, Education, Geography, Mathematics, Black Studies, UCD Spectator, Teaching Resources Center and the Water Resources Center. In subsequent years, it was also home to Afro-American Studies, the Division of Statistics, the Davis Honors Program, the Education Abroad Program, and the John Muir Institute of the Environment. As of 2014, Kerr Hall houses the following departments: Communication, Linguistics, and Political Science.



On This Day: October 24, 1922

October 24th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s post in the On This Day series features the October 24, 1922 dedication of the Dairy Industry and Horticulture Buildings. Both buildings were designed by architect William C. Hays and financed through state appropriations.

The Horticulture Building, located near the present day site of Wellman Hall, housed the Botany, Pomology, and Viticulture Departments.

The Dairy Industry Building, located at the present day site of the School of Education building, contained a creamery and administrative offices. On October 26, 1963, the Dairy Industry Building was named for Chester Roadhouse (1881-1969), Professor of Dairy Science.

Built of masonry and stucco rather than wood, both buildings were considered the first two “permanent” structures on campus. However, both were razed in the 1960s.


Roadhouse Hall (Dairy Industry Building), 1951

Roadhouse Hall (Dairy Industry Building), 1951

 Horticulture Building, 1922

Horticulture Building, 1922


On This Day: October 23, 1959

October 23rd, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Today’s feature in our On This Day series takes us back fifty-five years to October 23, 1959 and the inauguration of Emil Mrak as the second Chancellor of UC Davis. Mrak’s appointment as Chancellor began on July 1, 1959 following the retirement of Chancellor Stanley Freeborn and the official inauguration ceremonies followed several months later in October.

Some 1500 University students, faculty, community members, and delegates from 42 other California colleges and universities attended the inauguration ceremony which took place in the Sunken Garden (now the site of the courtyard of Shields Library). University of California President Clark Kerr conducted the ceremony which included a speech by President Conrad A. Elvehjem of the University of Wisconsin. As part of the ceremony, honorary degrees were presented to Elvehjem and food engineer David Peebles.

Mrak (1901-1987) was appointed as an instructor in Food Technology in 1937 at UC Berkeley. He became Professor and Department Chairman in 1948, and in 1951 transferred with most of his staff to the UC Davis campus to reorganize and expand the Department of Food Science and Technology here.

Mrak served as Chancellor during a time of unprecedented growth for the campus. When he became Chancellor, UC Davis had approximately 2,000 undergraduates and more than 600 graduate students. By 1967, student enrollment was over 10,000. During Mrak’s tenure the following campus units were established: Graduate Division (1961), College of Engineering (1962), National Center for Primate Biology (now the California National Primate Research Center) (1962), School of Law (1964), Crocker Nuclear Laboratory (1965), and the School of Medicine (1966).

Mrak retired as Chancellor in 1969 and was succeeded by James Meyer.


President Clark Kerr of the University of California grips the hands of Chancellor Emil M. Mrak, right, and Vice-Chancellor Everett Carter at the conclusion of inaugural ceremonies in the Sunken Garden of the Davis campus, 1959 October 23.

President Clark Kerr of the University of California grips the hands of Chancellor Emil M. Mrak, right, and Vice-Chancellor Everett Carter at the conclusion of inaugural ceremonies in the Sunken Garden of the Davis campus, 1959 October 23.

Then & Now

September 25th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

The latest installment in the Then & Now series takes us to one of the oldest original campus buildings that is still standing, South Hall. The building was constructed in 1912 as a dormitory to house sixty-seven men. It remained a dormitory until 1961 when it was converted to office use. Over the years the building has housed the Advisory Skills Center, Learning Skills Center, Internship and Career Placement Center, Services for International Students and Scholars, Student Activities, Student Affairs Research and Information, and the Student Employment Center. As of 2014, the building contains offices for the following units and programs: Academic Peer Advising, Educational Placement, Graduate Letter Service, Health Sciences Advising, Internship and Career Center, Peace Corps, Pre-Graduate Advising, Pre-Health Advising, Tipsy Taxi, UC Davis Washington Program, and Unitrans.

The historic image of South Hall, taken in 1957, is from the Eastman’s Originals Collection.




On This Day: September 11, 1974

September 11th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

The latest installment of On This Day features the groundbreaking ceremony for the Medical Sciences Unit I which took place on September 11, 1974. According to the program for the event: “The first permanent building for the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences Unit 1, is being built in two phases. The initial construction includes a cluster of low-rise buildings which will house the health sciences library, bookstore, lecture and seminar rooms, study areas, and administrative offices. The four story structure, Phase 2, will contain laboratories, offices, and classrooms.” Stone, Marraccini, and Patterson served as the architect for Phase 1 while the contractor was Campbell Construction Company. Phase 2, completed in September 1977, was named Tupper Hall in June 1996 in honor of C. John Tupper, the founding dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine.







New website features historical information about campus buildings

July 9th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

We’re frequently asked, “Where do I find historical information about UC Davis campus buildings?” To help answer that question, we’ve created a new website that contains such information. The page has entries for many, but not all, campus buildings. The entry for each building includes the following: date completed, building materials, cost, financing, architect, dedication, history, and an image. During the coming year we’re hoping to include information about additional campus buildings.

You can view the new page here.

East Hall, circa 1918.

East Hall, circa 1918.

On This Day: July 2, 1973

July 2nd, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Today, we’re launching a new series on our blog, On This Day. The series will highlight campus events that happened “on this day” in history.

Our inaugural post features the Transfer Ceremony for the Sacramento Medical Center of the University of California, Davis on July 2, 1973. The Sacramento Medical Center, founded in 1852 as the Sacramento County Hospital, became a community hospital in 1966. That same year the UC Davis School of Medicine was founded. To meet immediate needs for a clinical teaching facility, the university signed an agreement with Sacramento County for the temporary use of its hospital, which was officially renamed the Sacramento Medical Center (SMC) in 1968.

In 1973 UC Davis officially acquired the SMC and the July 2 ceremony celebrated the transfer. On July 1, 1978 the hospital officially became known as the University of California, Davis Medical Center (UCDMC).

Stay tuned for our next installment of On This Day.


Happy 100th Birthday, Cooperative Extension!

May 8th, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

May 8, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, the legislation that formally established the Cooperative Extension Service as the outreach arm  of land-grant universities. Visit the University of California Cooperative Extension website for more information about their history.

Below is an image from our University Archives Photograph Collection.

Agricultural Extension Service truck used to convey tools and equipment from one tractor, farm, or water supply school to another, undated.

Agricultural Extension Service truck used to convey tools and equipment from one tractor, farm, or water supply school to another, undated.

Then & Now

February 3rd, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

This week’s installment of Then & Now is a place near and dear to us. Any ideas where this spot is located? If you guessed the Shields Library courtyard, you would be correct!

The historic image of the courtyard is undated. However, a few clues in the photo can help us narrow down the date to between 1964-1967. The Library’s East Wing, pictured, was added in 1964. The Library’s South Wing, not seen here, was completed in 1967.

Both the historic and present day views capture the turkey oak in the courtyard.

Here’s a fun fact about the courtyard. Did you know that the first commencement held on the Davis campus took place in the Sunken Garden, the present day site of the courtyard?


Finding Aid Friday: University Archives Photographs

January 31st, 2014 by Sara Gunasekara

Are you interested in historic images of the UC Davis campus? If so, you’ll want to know about this week’s Finding Aid Friday feature, the University Archives Photographs Collection. This collection offers a visual record of the history of UC Davis. The collection, which spans the years 1907-1987, contains photographic prints and negatives, and depicts buildings and grounds, faculty and staff, annual events such as Picnic Day, campus events, classes and classrooms, student clubs and activities, departments, and sporting events.

We’ve been working on a project to provide these photographs online. We’re excited to announce that this week we completed the last stage of the project. Now 3377 images in all eleven series in the collection are available online. You can view the online images via the finding aid which is available here.

We’d be interested to hear if the images bring back any campus memories for you. Also, we’d appreciate knowing if you can provide further identification for any of these images.

Aerial view of campus, circa 1941

Aerial view of campus, circa 1941