Big Ideas Cycle II

Chancellor Gary May

Dear University of California, Davis, community members,

Thank you for helping to define what UC Davis will become over the next decade by participating in the university’s strategic planning process, “To Boldly Go.” Our strategic planning process coincided with preparation for UC Davis’ second comprehensive fundraising campaign, which will help us reach even greater heights.

In fall 2015, leaders at UC Davis put forth an initial call for Big Ideas to help solve society’s greatest challenges. We turned to faculty, staff and students for input on how the university could positively impact the world and offer donors the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. Twelve innovative programs moved forward, offering global solutions in sustainability, food, water, global education, animal and human health and more. These Big Ideas align very closely with the university’s strategic plan.

In an effort to fully represent the strengths and breadth of UC Davis and further accelerate the strategic plan, we launched a second targeted call for Big Ideas in 2018. We received 53 strong submissions, and are thrilled to announce the addition of five new Big Ideas.

Aggie Square

Champion: Bob Segar

Aggie Square will serve as a collaborative technology and innovation campus in Sacramento that leverages the university’s strengths to become a catalyst for economic change, job creation and social opportunity in the region. This public-private partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for corporate and foundation investors, as well as private philanthropists who want to help realize this bold vision to the fullest. The Aggie Square business model will deliver new buildings through private-developer financing, allowing philanthropic funds to support the innovative people and programs within those buildings.

Building the Entrepreneurial Mindset 

Faculty Champion: Andrew Hargadon

UC Davis aims to embed innovation and entrepreneurship into undergraduate programs across the university, making I&E a defining, foundational feature of an Aggie education. Leveraging the work of the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, our Big Idea will establish the first comprehensive undergraduate program of its kind.

Aggie Launch

Faculty Champion: Ralph Hexter

Aggie Launch will provide UC Davis students with tangible career prep as part of their undergraduate work. By integrating mandatory career exploration and professional development into each student’s UC Davis experience, we will prepare resilient, capable and connected graduates poised to become the leading professionals of tomorrow.

Food Valley

Faculty Champion: Justin Siegel

UC Davis has a vision to transform the greater Sacramento region into Food Valley—the incubator pipeline for innovations to feed the world. Food Valley will forge the innovation ecosystem to develop disruptive technologies that will transform our food production and delivery systems to ensure a sustainable, equitable and healthful future for all.

One Climate Initiative

Faculty Champion: Benjamin Houlton

One Climate will lead the way forward to planetary resilience by catalyzing a powerful and diverse nexus of change makers—integrating across disciplines and with partners in industry, government, communities and NGOs to scale solutions for maximum global impact. We will prepare the next generation of leaders who will foster changes essential to creating a low-carbon society and a sustainable way of life.

These selected ideas will be featured alongside the original 12 as campaign priorities, with dedicated fundraising and marketing support.

I encourage you to explore the Big Ideas and, if there are a few that particularly interest you, download the whitepaper to learn even more about the transformational work being done. We look forward to partnering with you on our exciting journey as we awaken the sleeping giant that is UC Davis.

Best Regards,

Chancellor Gary S. May