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)




ChapmanMichael Chapman

Chapman, a pioneer of modern trauma surgery, was chair of the UC Davis Department of Orthopaedic Surgery for two decades and was chief of the Orthopaedic Trauma Service. Under Chapman's leadership, the department became one of the most respected in the nation. An alumnus of the College of Letters and Science, Chapman has been a generous volunteer and donor for many years and is one of the founding members of UC Davis’ first comprehensive, $1.3 billion-generating campaign. The Chapmans are members of the UC Davis California Aggie Alumni Association, the Davis Chancellor's Club and Emil Mrak Associates, and helped make possible the Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center and the Robert Mondavi Center for the Arts.   << See video. 



John and Lois Crowe

For nearly five decades, Dr. John and Dr. Lois Crowe have contributed to the vibrancy of the UC Davis Community - from groundbreaking research to community-building and philanthropy. John, a professor emeritus of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the College of Biological Sciences, joined the faculty in 1970. Lois, a research scientist who completed her PhD at Davis, also conducted studies in the same laboratories. Together they realized fundamental, significant advancements in a process that allows various sea organisms to withstand severe drying and to thrive. Other reminders of their generosity can be found in the Young Artist's Competition within the Robert Mondavi Center's Young Artists Program, and in the Lois Crowe Patio in the UC Davis Arboretum.  << See video



Gurdev Khush

Gurdev Singh Khush is considered one of the fathers of the Green Revolution. A UC Davis PhD graduate, Khush is an agronomist and geneticist who, along with mentor Henry Beachell, received the 1996 World Food Prize for his achievements in enlarging and improving the quality and global supply of rice during a time of great need. His contributions to the field of plant genetics and breeding have brought much distinction to the University, inspiring generations of scientists and saving and enhancing the lives of millions around the world. The research he led in the late 1960s, with a team at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, produced nearly 300 then-new rice varieties. This work also enabled the way to better educational opportunity for many in developing countries, and factored into the growth of the world economy.  << See video




Past Honorees