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UC Davis Centennial
100 years of service, solutions, impact
Photo: David Risling (Debbie Aldridge/UC Davis photo)

David Risling, the “father of Indian education,” spent his career opening the doors of higher education to Native American students. He is credited with co-founding one of the few full-fledged Native American studies departments in the U.S. (Debbie Aldridge/UC Davis photo)

Looking Back

History in the making

Hear in their own words from professors, administrators and coaches as they tell the story of the rapid and dynamic evolution of UC Davis since World War II.

Beginning in the early 1990s, several hundred retired faculty members were asked by the UC Davis Emeriti Association to sit in front of a camera and reminisce about the part they played in developing the campus. These conversations focused on creating a major research, university department by department and college by college.

Several hundred individual interviews have been produced by the UC Davis Emeriti Association. About half were organized into combined documentaries focused on their displinary areas.

Project editor Verne Mendel, professor emeritus of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, received a campus Dickson Award in 2007 to construct the documentaries.

“This was our centennial project: to show how UC Davis evolved,” said Mendel, who took over the emeriti video project in 1996. He produced and edited the majority of the individual interviews as well as the longer documentaries.

Assisting Mendel in the centennial project have been a number of emeriti professors, including Alex McCalla, who wrote the narratives that pull together the history of the academic units and scripts for each individual emeritus faculty interview. McCalla, a professor emeritus of agricultural and resource economics, is was president of the emeriti association.

The video narrator was Bob Leighton, a professor emeritus of veterinary medicine.

The project’s assistant editors included Bill Breidenbach, Jim DeVay, John Goss, John Fetzer, McCalla and Don Chakerian.

How UC Davis evolved

Take a look back at UC Davis' history