UC Davis Medal - Past Honorees


Delaine Eastin

Delaine EastinFormer State Superintendent of Schools and Davis Alumna 

UC Davis Alumna Delaine Eastin (Political Science), led California public schools from 1995 to 2003, cutting classroom size and administrative costs, ensuring greater access to computers, and introducing the value of student-planted and tended gardens in education. Chancellor Katehi presented the medal to Eastin at the College of Letters and Science commencement on June 13, 2015. << See video


Charles Hess

Charles HessProfessor Emeritus of Plant Sciences and Former Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Charles E. "Charley" Hess, a beloved, longtime servant of the university in several roles, and an active presence on state, national and global agricultural boards and committees, was presented with the 2014 UC Davis Medal on June 12, during a Gala at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. At Davis, Dr. Hess chaired the Department of Nutrition (2007-09), led the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (1975-89), and directed the Office of International Programs (1992-98). << See video


Larry Vanderhoef
Larry N. Vanderhoef, Chancellor at Davis 1994-2009

The late Larry Vanderhoef, who served in the top two leadership roles at Davis, first as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor (1984-1994), then as Chancellor for the following decade, presented the medal to a dozen deserving recipients. But on May 30, 2009, the 13th such medal was draped around Vanderhoef’s own neck in a surprise turnabout that presenter Bob Grey described as an act of “popular insurrection.”

Gary Snyder
Gary SnyderPoet and Professor Emeritus of English, UC Davis

Snyder was born in San Francisco in 1930, and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where he worked as a youth on the family farm and seasonally in the woods. After earning an undergraduate degree in anthropology and literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon in 1951, he pursued graduate work in linguistics at Indiana University and in East Asian languages at UC Berkeley.  

Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne ThiebaudArtist and Professor Emeritus of Art, UC Davis

Thiebaud was born in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona, and grew up in Long Beach, California and Hurricane, Utah, where his family's farm failed during the Great Depression. Before enrolling in college under the GI Bill (he drew a cartoon strip for the base newspaper during a three-year stint in the U.S. Army), he was a designer and cartoonist at Rexall Drug Company in Los Angeles.  


Barbara Jackson
Barbara K. JacksonPhilanthropist

Arts patron Barbara K. Jackson, one of two namesakes of the Mondavi Center's Barbara K. and W. Turrentine Jackson Hall, received the honor on a Saturday evening during the opening event of the Mondavi Center's 2008-09 season.  

Michelle Bachelet
Michelle BacheletFormer President of Chile

Gov. Schwarzenegger and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet presided June 12, at a UC Davis signing ceremony that renewed the decades-old California-Chile partnership in research and education. The dignitaries took a brief tour in a university vineyard before their 15-car motorcade sped along closed-off roads to the heart of campus.  


Cruz Reynoso
Cruz ReynosoProfessor Emeritus of Law at UC Davis and former Justice of the California Supreme Court

Cruz Reynoso, a farmworker's son who rose from an Orange County barrio to become the first Latino to serve on the California Supreme Court, has received the UC Davis Medal, the highest tribute bestowed by the campus. Also in his honor, the UC Davis School of Law has established the Cruz and Jeannene Reynoso Scholarship for Legal Access. 


 Steve Robinson
Steve RobinsonProfessor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, former Astronaut, and UC Davis Alumnus

Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef awarded the UC Davis Medal to then-astronaut and UC Davis alumnus Steve Robinson in Mondavi Center on Dec.4, 2005. The medal was given to Robinson in recognition of his contributions to the university and the broader community.  


Robert and Margrit Mondavi
Robert and Margrit MondaviWinemakers, Philanthropists and avid supporters of the Arts

The UC Davis Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the University of California, Davis, was presented to Robert and Margrit Mondavi during a formal dinner at the Chancellor's residence. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman joined in the award ceremony, which was attended by members of the campus community and many friends and supporters of both the Mondavis and UC Davis.  


Charlie Soderquist
Charlie SoderquistBusinessman, Philanthropist, Conservationist and Author

Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef delivered a eulogy for businessman, philanthropist, conservationist and author -- an avid bridge-builder between the campus and the business sector -- Charlie Soderquist, who was remembered during a tribute that drew some 500 people to the Mondavi Center.  


President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton42nd President of the United States

Former President Bill Clinton strode onto the stage at the Mondavi Center to receive the Medal for 2002, to a nearly universal standing ovation, thunderous cheers and a smattering of "whoo-hoos." A similar reaction came at Freeborn Hall, where Clinton’s message was simulcast live.  

Alice Gonzales and Roy T. BrophyFormer UC Regents

The daughter of a migrant farm worker, Alice Gonzales learned early on the value of hard work, determination and a good education. "As well, she learned – and lived – a commitment to public service and uncompromisingly high standards," said Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.

For more than 40 years, builder and developer Roy Brophy also helped build public education, serving the board of the San Juan School District and the boards of the state's three higher education systems – the California Community Colleges, the California State University and the University of California.