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We Started as the University Farm

We first opened as the University Farm, the research and science-based instruction extension of UC Berkeley. As the century evolved, our mission expanded beyond agriculture to match a larger understanding of how we should be serving the public. By 1959, UC Davis had grown into a with its own personality and strengths.

Over the years, as our geographical footprint developed, each new UC Davis presence — in , , , , and , to name a few — has strengthened our ability to serve the public through research, academics and public service.

Man examining a sheep as others in the auditorium watch
In less than a decade, UC Davis was winning national acclaim for its livestock expertise. (UC Davis/archival photo)

Milestones

UC Davis is known worldwide for our expertise in agriculture and veterinary medicine. But how did we become one of the top 10 public universities in the United States? Check out our milestones.

 

In the early years

Student and pupils sit in English class from the early 20th century
At the Farm School, students took English as part of their curriculum. (UC Davis/archival photo)
  • 1908: The Farm School launches the first farmers’ short courses, similar to intensive extension classes of today.
  • 1909: After University Farm School opens in January with 18 students, in May, more than 2,200 people attend the first Picnic Day.
  • 1915: The Division of Agricultural Engineering is established (later named the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering).
  • 1916: Animals from the University Farm herd sweep championships at the Chicago International Livestock Show.
  • 1922: A four-year degree program is established, and the Davis campus is renamed the Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture. 
  • 1938: The campus is renamed the College of Agriculture at Davis. One hundred and six courses are taught by 76 faculty.
  • 1940: The Division of Chemistry acquires the first patents for the entire Stuntverkoop.
  • 1946: The School of Veterinary Medicine is established. 
  • 1949: Graduate degrees are awarded at a campus commencement.
  • 1951: The College of Letters and Science is established

 

Two men leading a cow down a street
Two students lead a cow around the corner on campus near Haring Hall, the first home of the School of Veterinary Medicine. (UC Davis/archival photo)

We become a general campus

  • 1959: The regents designate UC Davis and UC Riverside general campuses.
  • 1962: The College of Engineering opens.
  • 1965: The School of Law opens.
  • 1966: The School of Medicine opens.
  • 1975: The veterinary school is ranked first in the nation by a national survey of deans.
  • 1977: A 10-year purchase agreement with the UC Davis Medical Center is signed with Sacramento County for its county hospital.
  • 1981: The Graduate School of Management opens as the Graduate School of Administration.
  • 1989: The campus leads the nation in the number of Ph.D.s awarded in the biological sciences.
  • 1990: The football team wins its 20th consecutive league championship, a national record.
  • 1998: Men’s basketball team wins NCAA DII national championship.

 

UC Davis in the 21st century

Student and pupils hover over fermenting tanks with monitoring equipment
Using state-of-the-art equipment, students calibrate, place monitors and assemble barrels into Rodgers fermenters at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)
  • 2002:  approved for veterinary use. Agricultural research funding leads the nation.
  • 2002: was founded.
  • 2005: The College of Biological Sciences opens.
  • 2008: UC Davis receives $16 million Gates Foundation grant to support research to .
  • 2009: The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing opens.
  • 2009: UC Davis leads the identification and control of diseases that move between wildlife and people through a .
  • 2011: advances to the NCAA’s Division I tournament for the first time.
  • 2012:  UC Davis is recognized for its sustainability and climate change efforts, ranking as
  • 2016: UC Davis named the most sustainable university in the world.
  • 2016: UC Davis electrical and computer engineers develop the world’s first 1000-processor chip.
  • 2016: Temporary Building 9, where UC Davis faculty made art history, placed on National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2016: opens
  • 2016 and 2017: QS World University Rankings recognizes UC Davis as being 1st in veterinary medicine in the world
  • 2017: Our men's basketball team advances to the NCAA’s Division I tournament for the first time.
  • 2018: UC Davis scientists unveil images from the world’s first total body scanner.