Welcome and Introductions by Enrique Lavernia

Photo: Enrique Laveria speaking at the lectern

Good morning everyone and welcome to UC Davis’ Centennial Convocation.

I’m Enrique Lavernia, dean of the College of Engineering and provost designate for UC Davis.

I’m so pleased to have been asked to serve as your emcee today.

Before we get started with the formal program, I’d like to acknowledge the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, which, by the way, happens to be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Please join me in thanking these talented students and other members of the university community — under the direction of D. Kern Holoman — for this beautiful music we’ve been enjoying!

Fall Convocation is a special occasion because it marks a beginning — it marks a time of promise.

We come together today as a community to celebrate the beginning of our academic year, and to honor the significance of the work we will accomplish together, in the year ahead.

It’s good to see so many of you — students, parents, faculty, staff and other friends who, together, make up our UC Davis community.

I also know that we are joined by many new members of our UC Davis family this morning. Welcome to UC Davis!

This is a very special time to be a part of UC Davis as the university celebrates its Centennial — 100 years of excellence in teaching, research, and public service!

Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to all of our returning and incoming students, including the members of our Centennial Class!

UC Davis appreciates all the many great friends who do so much to support the university’s great work….

Please welcome our donors and volunteers in attendance today — including UC Davis Foundation trustees, Chancellor’s Laureates and members of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association.

I would also like to extend a special welcome to all of the elected officials in attendance today.

We are also honored to have another special group in the audience: Please extend a warm welcome to the Consuls and Consuls General from China, France, Greece, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Many thanks to EVERYONE here today for joining us for UC Davis’ Centennial Convocation.

In just a few moments, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from our guest speakers about today’s theme, “A Century of Doing What Matters.”

But first, please allow me to present the stage party.

Will you please stand as I call your names?

First, please extend a very warm welcome to Larry Vanderhoef, chancellor of UC Davis!

Next, please join me in welcoming UC Davis’ Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Barbara Horwitz!

And here to represent UC Davis’ outstanding faculty are:

Pablo Ortiz, vice chair of the Academic Senate …

… and Steve Blank of the Academic Federation Representative.

Here to represent dedicated staff all across the university, please welcome

Lin King, chair of the UC Davis Staff Assembly

And here on behalf of UC Davis’ exceptional student body is Ivan Carrillo, president of the Associated Students of UC Davis.

The next member of our stage party is chair of the UC Davis Foundation. The UC Davis Foundation helps to raise philanthropic support, advocates for UC Davis, and manages a portion of the university’s endowment. Please welcome UC Davis Foundation Chair Pam Fair.

Next, please welcome the president of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association Patrick Blacklock.

And now I’d like to introduce our five guest speakers, who will be sharing their thoughts on this year’s convocation theme:

Gabriella Wong
Senior Sociology and Law and Society major and 2008-09 Strauss Scholar

Marshall McKay
Tribal Council Chair of the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians and UC Davis Foundation Board Trustee

Julia Ann Easley
Senior Public Information Representative, UC Davis News Service and Red Cross disaster volunteer

Dr. John Madigan
Professor of Veterinary Medicine AND Head of the UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team

Dr. Condessa Curley
School of Medicine alumna AND founder of Project Africa Global

Many thanks to each of you for being here today. We look forward to hearing from you later on in the program.

When Chancellor Vanderhoef invited me to take part in convocation, he asked if I might share my own thoughts on this year’s theme of “doing what matters.”

When I think about today’s theme, for me, it boils down to one word — PEOPLE.

In order to do what matters, we must try to understand people and how our decisions will affect them.

The fact that “A Century of Doing What Matters” is the theme for UC Davis’ centennial convocation is important, and seems very fitting to me.

From the beginning, UC Davis has promoted an environment that encourages faculty to strive for scholarly excellence and to direct their talents toward doing what truly matters.

This means that when we think about the value of our work, we measure it by different standards … standards that are based on making a positive difference in the world.

Because of this, UC Davis has made tremendous strides in addressing some of the most complex issues facing society today.

For instance, we have a broad array of interdisciplinary research and academic programs aimed at finding answers to the world’s energy crisis.

We also have stellar faculty and programs focused on ensuring that the world’s food supply is abundant and safe … and name just about any major state, national or global concern and, chances are, UC Davis policy experts are behind the scenes, providing the analysis needed to address it.

At UC Davis, faculty members understand the importance of making contributions that are meaningful and relevant to the world around us.

And, we encourage our students to get involved in clubs and in community service, not just for their resumes, but because we know that this kind of engagement will make them better leaders for tomorrow.

As dean, I have always been impressed by the values of this university.

It’s really different here at UC Davis than at other institutions … and that special spirit has been nationally recognized by Washington Monthly magazine, which ranks UC Davis 8th among all U.S. universities for its contributions to society.

UC Davis is truly dedicated to addressing those issues that matter most to the state, the nation and the world.

And now it is my great pleasure to introduce Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef — whose own commitment to “doing what matters” has had a lot to do with building this very special academic community.

From the beginning, Chancellor Vanderhoef has been committed to carrying forward the great land grant mission of public service upon which the university was founded … and he has shown exceptional commitment to providing the best in education to UC Davis students.

He has worked hard to foster a diverse and collaborative academic community that provides students with an enriched and supportive learning environment … and, at the same time, one that challenges students to be engaged citizens of the world.

Under his thoughtful leadership and guidance, UC Davis has built a strong foundation from which to move forward into its second century.

Please join me in welcoming Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef!

Enrique Lavernia is dean of the UC College of Engineering and provost-designate.