“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” —John Quincy Adams
As we begin what is essentially our second month of the COVID-19 pandemic response, all of us are adjusting to our new reality. We see hope for California where early public health interventions have “flattened the curve” and have reduced the number of infections in our region. Our optimism is counterbalanced by cautious planning for life after COVID-19. I am grateful to our leadership for responding early, and applaud you all for continuing to do your part to fulfill our mission goals despite extensive alterations to our lives at work and home.
Last week, we announced changes to our most joyous annual event—commencement—to an online format, with an in-person celebration to be scheduled for later in the year. All UC Davis commencements face similar changes, and our faculty and staff teams are actively organizing with the input from our Class of 2020 student leaders to create an event that uniquely celebrates their accomplishments. I am very grateful to our Class of 2020 for working with us—both directly through the class presidents and indirectly through an idea poll—to shape events to be meaningful, as well as memorable.
I want to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the faculty and staff who are on the frontlines, interacting directly with clients and each other. I know that the utmost attention is being paid to safety, but it is still stressful to work in these circumstances. So, thank you to everyone who is keeping our essential services running, including our custodians, veterinary technicians, clinicians, and others. We deeply appreciate your dedication and service.
The school was very active last week. We had an online CE event last Wednesday featuring Dr. Jane Sykes called“Pets, SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19: What All Veterinarians Need to Know.”
In addition, we hosted a town hall event co-hosted by the One Health Institute that highlighted our COVID-19 research teams and their impactful response to the pandemic. More than 400 of you attended the event, which demonstrated our unique understanding of the epidemiology of the pandemic and how our programs are helping organize on campus and across the globe to understand the ecology and public health risks associated with COVID-19 and other zoonotic diseases.
Our research related to the pandemic is receiving worldwide attention. Dr. Christine Kreuder-Johnson and colleagues’ recent report on how the relationship between increased human-wildlife interactions can be a cause of pandemics received over 400 media hits in the hour after it was released. Outlets to cover the story include The Guardian, Bloomberg (reprinted in Time Magazine), Washington Post, The Daily Mail, BBC News, Newsweek, ABC News, among others.
I want to close with a note about Give Day, the university’s annual event that will be taking place this Friday and Saturday. We have a number of challenges, including two supporting the school’s hardship fund by Donna and me and by UC Davis alumna Sue Mayer. If you have the capacity to support our students or one of our programs that continues to do good during these challenging times, the community will be grateful to you for giving.
Michael D. Lairmore
Dean and Distinguished Professor