UC Davis Medal

About the UC Davis Medal 

The UC Davis Medal is the highest honor the University presents to individuals in recognition of extraordinary contributions that embody the campus’s Vision of Excellence. Medalists inspire and support the success and engagement of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and foster a bold and innovative spirit in teaching, research and public service.

History and Description

The UC Davis Medal recognizes individuals of rare accomplishment, “to be heralded today and in perpetuity,” as extraordinarily special members of the UC Davis community.

The design of the UC Davis Medal represents, both figuratively and literally, the legacy of contributions UC Davis has made to the world in research and scholarly endeavors.

Depicted on the medal are the campus name and its motto, “Let There Be Light.” In the upper left quadrant are the life-giving rays of the sun. Below them, leaves of the bay laurel symbolize our proud history of achievement. Lines in the lower right quadrant may be seen as energy radiating from a source, roads leading to the future, or rows of crops in fertile California fields.

The spare, relatively unadorned design, which employs an official campus typeface, Futura, is timeless and distinctive. Jan Conroy, Class of 1977, designed the medal during his long career in university graphics, publications and communications. Jan retired in 2012.

Medal Protocol (PDF)




Charles Rice UC Medal Honoree

Charles Rice

Charles Rice, a UC Davis alumnus (BS 1974) and one of the world’s most accomplished virologists, was named a 2020 Nobel Laureate (Physiology or Medicine), with Harvey J. Alter of the National Institutes of Health and Michael Houghton of the University of Alberta. The trio’s research led to the discovery and cure for hepatitis C (HCV). Rice, also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, earned his PhD from Caltech in 1981. He is the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Chair in Virology and Head of the Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease at Rockefeller University.

From 1986-2000, Rice was on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis. Among many important contributions to the understanding of the biological origins and structures of viruses, he and his team produced the  first infectious molecular clone of the HCV–an essential tool for future studies of this human pathogen.  His laboratory has recently established efficient cell culture systems for studying HCV replication and evaluating  antiviral efficacy. << See video

Alan Templeton

Alan Templeton

A 1982 UC Davis graduate with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and art history, Alan Templeton’s family connections with the University of California run deep. His sister and brother-in-law are also UC Davis alumni. Templeton’s late father, Professor Emeritus David H. Templeton, an authority on X-ray diffraction and absorption correction techniques, served as dean of the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley from 1970-75. Both of Alan’s parents received PhDs in chemistry from Berkeley where they were based the length of their careers. Among other jobs, Templeton taught high school and worked as an administrator for a labor union. From age 10, when he inherited a stock portfolio from his great uncle, Nobel Laureate Otto Stern, he began to develop his skills in investing, a sideline that allowed him to retire early. Templeton’s interest in art and collection, including 18th century etchings by Hogarth and Piranesi, led to a guest curator invitation from the Crocker Art Museum. With the belief that the arts and humanities are often underfunded, Templeton has supported UC Davis since 1999, with an initial gift to the Center for the Arts campaign. He also made gifts to the Nelson Art Museum and, in 2011, established The Alan Templeton Endowment in Art History, which in 2014 was renamed The Alan Templeton Endowed Chair in the History of European Art Before 1830. With a desire to broaden his support, he funded establishment of the Templeton Endowment for Arts and Letters (TEAL), further benefitting the social sciences, humanities and arts at Davis. In 2018, he established the Alan Templeton Art History Fund that will ultimately support the Templeton Colloquium speakers series, and will provide general program support to the Art History Department. A life-long learner, Templeton has often been seen on campus over the years since he graduated, having lunch with faculty and others, or attending programs. << See video


Past Honorees