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New UC Davis Chancellor Lays Out Priorities In First Speech

Karin Higgins/UC Davis

UC Davis Chancellor Gary May.

Karin Higgins/UC Davis

As UC Davis kicks off the school year, new chancellor Gary May is hoping to move forward from past controversies and focus on new goals.

In his first major speech Monday, May talked about strengthening the university’s relationship with Sacramento.

"The communities that surround us need to see the value of a public research university," May said "As you know, we already have a strong presence in Sacramento with UC Davis Health. But I think there are other mutually beneficial possibilities to explore."

May says while he was dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech he partnered with the city of Atlanta to create a tech innovation hub in the city, called Tech Square.

May hopes to do the same in Sacramento. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg visited Tech Square in Atlanta earlier this year.

"There seems to be some traction for this idea and I’m pretty excited about it," May said. I’m calling it Aggie Square."

May said Davis’ incoming class is the most ethnically diverse ever, with Chicanos and Latinos making up more than 25 percent of the domestic undergraduate student body.

They also represent the largest group of applicants.

“This is impressive, but we have a long way to go before our student demographic reflects the ethnic makeup of California’s population,” May said.

Davis is opening a new academic support center for Chicano/Latino students.

“Particularly first generation students, those who have no college-educated parents to turn to for advice on how to navigate classes, finances and extra-curricular activities,” May said.

May said 44 percent of incoming students last fall were first generation.

He follows former chancellor Linda Katehi who resigned last year amid controversy over her positions on outside boards. Katehi remains on the faculty at Davis, with a salary of more than $300,000.

 UC DavisGary May

Sally Schilling

Reporter/Podcast Producer

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio 

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