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Annual Tea kicks off University Farm Circle’s centennial year

By From page A18 | September 22, 2013

The centennial year for University Farm Circle begins with the Annual Tea from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Buehler Alumni & Visitors Center on the UC Davis campus.

Members and prospective members are invited to attend. Reservations are not needed and there is no fee. Sheila Beyer and Linda Ziskind, co-presidents, will greet the guests with their theme for the year, “Celebrate the Past — Embrace the Future.”

An affiliation with UCD is not required for the University Farm Circle. Anyone who is supportive of the university is welcome to join. The annual membership fee of $25 provides the opportunity to support the scholarship endowment fund and to enjoy a year of programs with a friendly group.

With an $8 parking fee, guests are encouraged to car-pool to the tea. There is a drop-off area in front of the Alumni Center.

The main goal of UFC is support for the university, in particular through its sponsorship of scholarships. The first scholarship was awarded in 1937 and in 1959 the awards were named after Marion Freeborn, the wife of the first provost. Later, UFC established an endowment fund to strengthen the Marion Freeborn Scholarship Fund.

The Kate Fizell Founder’s Scholarship prize was created in 2008 and a re-entry scholarship also was started in her honor.

Each year, the recipients’ names are engraved on plaques and permanently displayed in the Memorial Union. University Farm Circle scholarships are funded primarily with the interest from the endowment fund, as well as donations, a portion of the dues and income from events and fundraisers.

The highlight of the tea will be the introduction of the five scholarship recipients for this academic year. UFC will celebrate the 76th year of outstanding recipients who were chosen on the basis of academic excellence, involvement in campus and community activities, high goals, volunteerism and leadership.

Because the Davis campus began as the University Farm of UC Berkeley, the campus support organization became the University Farm Circle. The group began with Kate Fizell, the dormitory matron who came from Philadelphia to Davis, a place with unpaved roads and 800 inhabitants. To overcome her loneliness, she invited women connected to the school to her sitting room to get acquainted.

University Farm Circle had its first event on Feb. 14, 1914, and UFC will host a special centennial luncheon on that date in 2014.

UFC began with a small group of about 25 women and the membership is now more than 500. It is the oldest support group on the UCD campus.

The University Farm Circle website, www.ufcdavis.org, has become an important part of the organization’s communications. It both explains the purpose and past history of the 100-year-old group to the public and updates members on programs, events and interest groups.

In 1976, the group set up the sabbatical house listing service that is found on the UFC website. It contains an ongoing list of sabbatical housing that adds thousands of dollars each year to the group’s scholarship fund. Inside the members-only section are UFC newsletters, photos of recent events, an extensive list of campus resources and a calendar of free and low-cost events on campus.

Programs evolved to reflect the interests of the group. Special sections were added to give members an opportunity to enjoy meeting in small groups in which everyone can share an interest.

At the Annual Tea, members will have the opportunity to sign up for about 25 sections from antiquing, bird watching, bridge, mahjong and sketchbook to book clubs, Bon Appetit, photography, skiing, Spanish and German conversation groups, walking, wine tasting and gardening.

Some of the interest sections are open to couples. There is something for everyone, as well as an opportunity to make new friends and discover new interests.

The Newcomers Group plans small group events that encourage interaction between new and continuing members. Special activities are planned to provide information about the campus, community and UFC. It welcomes members new to the area or new to UFC.

This year begins with an Appetizer Sharing/Demonstration, a tour of the Gibson House Historical Museum in Woodland and lunch, a walking tour of Winters and a garden party
with Don Shor, Davis garden expert and owner of the Redwood Barn Nursery, answering questions. The year ends with a get-together that includes couples.

University Farm Circle plans a variety of programs open to all members. This year, UFC launches the introduction of a speaker series with talks on “The Castles of Northern England,” women’s health, Davis history with Bob Warren and Joann Larkey, and Jim Sochor speaking on “The Empowerment of Sports and Life.”

Bus trips will include an Amador wine tour, The Fountains and Antique Trove in Roseville, the Filoli holiday market, and Macy’s Flower Show in San Francisco.

Other programs feature the Carnival in Venice, the popular Novels and Noshes to share favorite books, a white elephant exchange, as well as a tour of the special collections in the UCD Shields Library.

UFC members will attend a Cal Aggie women’s basketball game, enjoy an origami workshop and meet members from Northern California campuses on the Inter-Campus Day at UCD.

The UFC year always includes the special Candlelight Dinner in December and the Spring Luncheon in May. The 100th birthday of University Farm Circle also will be celebrated with an Anniversary Gala in late May. Members are invited to participate in any functions that are of interest to them.

For more information on UFC membership, call 530-756-0697. General information on University Farm Circle may be found at www.ufcdavis.org.

Lydia Baskin

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