Eight people will be honored Friday with an Award of Distinction during the 24th annual College Celebration for the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
The honorees include faculty, staff, alumni and friends of UCD’s founding college. The award is presented annually to those whose contributions and achievements enhance the college’s ability to provide cutting-edge research, top-notch education and innovative outreach.
“The Award of Distinction recipients are highly accomplished, as well as influential in their daily lives, and we are honored by their strong connection to and support of our college,” said Mary Delany, the college’s interim dean. “We look forward to recognizing these eight remarkable people at our annual fall harvest celebration where we step aside from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life to celebrate the vital linkage of such individuals to our mission of serving the public good by advancing agriculture, human communities and the environment.”
Members of the campus community and the public are invited to participate in the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in Freeborn Hall. A harvest reception follows the awards presentation. Tickets are $15 each and will be available at the door.
This year’s award recipients include:
* Romeo Favreau, a pioneer in computer simulation, is being honored as a Friend of the College for his many years of volunteer service to UCD helping scientists develop computer models. After a career in electronics and engineering, he moved to Davis in the early 1990s to be closer to his five children. Favreau found volunteer opportunities with the university managing databases and developing computer models for row crops and river systems. Working with professor Ted DeJong, he has made important contributions to the development of a peach tree model.
Favreau has been involved in many community volunteer efforts, such as Meals on Wheels and the Davis Senior Center, and served as president of the Davis Kiwanis Club.
* Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of the Produce Marketing Association is being honored as a Friend of the College for his leadership in establishing the Center for Produce Safety at UCD in the wake of the 2006 E. coli outbreak in spinach. Silbermann, along with then-Dean Neal Van Alfen and then-California Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura, coordinated the association’s contribution of $2 million in start-up funding for the new center, and Taylor Farms’ pledge of $2 million to start a research program.
The Center for Produce Safety has since become a respected resource that identifies research priorities, funds research and coordinates forums to convey research information throughout the produce industry.
* Kathleen Socolofsky, director of the UCD Arboretum and Public Garden, is being honored as a Friend of the College for her leadership in improving the Arboretum’s gardens, along with developing a 10-year strategic plan. She built campus and community partnerships that have led to new paths, plantings, benches, interpretive signs and computer-controlled irrigation systems. New gardens include the Arboretum Terrace Garden’s home demonstration garden and the Native American Contemplative Garden.
Socolofsky oversaw development of the Arboretum Teaching Nursery, and helped launch the UCD Public Garden, an initiative to transform the campus into a series of sustainable teaching landscapes. She is leading the UCD GATEways (Gardens, Arts, and the Environment) Project to tie the Arboretum more closely to the campus and community.
* Tedd Struckmeyer, vice president for engineering and business development at Hilmar Cheese Company, is being honored as a Friend of the College. A 1977 graduate of UCD, Struckmeyer designs systems and processes that have helped Hilmar grow into a world leader. His many years of service on an industry advisory council for the UCD department of food science and technology helped lay the groundwork for new teaching and research facilities for milk processing.
He invested hundreds of hours in the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory — reviewing plans for the milk-processing lab; evaluating materials; selecting and installing critical equipment; procuring installation materials; and advising on the handling of raw milk. Struckmeyer has facilitated UCD student participation in Hilmar’s internship program and many UCD graduates now work in key positions at the company.
* Peter Moyle, a professor of fish biology at UCD for 40 years, is being honored as Outstanding Faculty. He is the leading authority on California freshwater fish and an educator held in the highest regard by students, faculty colleagues and conservationists. Moyle has a prolific record of publishing, with more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 10 books.
He has testified many times at hearings about the impacts of water diversion on native species, most visibly those in the San Francisco Estuary and on laws designed to protect native fishes. He also championed laws to ensure adequate release of water from dams for fish, most prominently in Putah Creek and the San Joaquin River. Moyle was responsible for first quantifying the decline of delta smelt, a key indicator species of delta ecosystem health.
* Garry Pearson, lead greenhouse manager for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is being honored as outstanding staff for his extraordinary dedication to the college’s plant research facilities. Pearson earned a bachelor’s degree at UCD in plant science, and now supervises the greenhouse managers and nursery technicians who are responsible for 150,000 square feet of greenhouses on campus.
He also oversees security, maintenance, space usage and serves as the facilities safety officer. He is responsible for greenhouse pest management and implementation of policy and regulations. He also made strides automating irrigation, fertilization and lighting, as well as upgrading environmental controllers.
In 2009, Pearson took charge of a successful effort to eradicate an outbreak of rice panicle mite that threatened to wreak havoc on rice research, as well as the rice industry.
* Ann Evans, a partner in the consulting firm Evans and Brennan, is being honored among outstanding alumni for her leadership in the sustainable food movement. She earned her bachelor’s degree in consumer food science in 1975, and then joined with local growers and community members to found the Davis Food Co-op and the Davis Farmers Market.
Evans worked at the state Department of Consumer Affairs in cooperative development and in the legislative unit. She also was chief of staff to Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin. At the California Department of Education, she helped improve school food through Farm to School and Garden in Every School programs.
Since 2006, Evans and her business partner, Georgeanne Brennan, have provided professional consulting services on policy development and marketing. Evans served on the Davis City Council in 1982-90 and was mayor of Davis in 1984-86.
* Brian Pacheco, a fourth-generation dairyman from Kerman, is being honored among outstanding alumni for exemplary work in the dairy industry and advocacy for UCD. Pacheco earned his bachelor’s degree in 1991 in agricultural and managerial economics. His Pacheco Dairy Inc. is a model of environmental stewardship and has a top-producing herd in Fresno County.
He is president of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, serves on the board of the Fresno Dairy Herd Improvement Association, and is chairman of the board of California Dairies Inc., the largest dairy cooperative in California. Pacheco has played a crucial role in building support for a future dairy at UCD, and also helped convince fellow CDI board members to invest in a new milk-processing laboratory on campus.
The College Celebration awards ceremony is followed by a reception that includes regional and specialty foods and beverages. A highlight of the evening is the farmers market display, packed with fresh California farm products provided by commodity groups, college departments and other organizations. Attendees may take the food products home with them.