5 Faces of Philanthropy

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Philanthropy impacts the life of every single Aggie. Whether you’re a student, parent of a student, staff or faculty, we all benefit from philanthropy.

A blue ribbon attached to the Mondavi Center.
A blue bow symbolizes the philanthropy that went into the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Philanthropy takes many forms: It can be in the form of a scholarship for a first-generation student, or an endowed chair position to fund important research or a new building or campus structure to enhance the UC Davis community. All of these are essential to creating an innovative learning environment, built around serving the greater good.

From May 1 through 16, the UC Davis Foundation’s “by philanthropy” initiative aims to draw attention to the facilities, programs and research that have been made possible in part by the generosity of others. Blue bows affixed to buildings, rooms, signs and more across both the Davis and Sacramento campuses mark the influence of philanthropy on our daily lives. 

Check out byphilanthropy.ucdavis.edu for videos and stories all about philanthropy at UC Davis, along with an interactive campus map showing what has been made possible by philanthropy and where.

All students are invited to the Aggie ThankU “by philanthropy” festival from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Thursday (May 2) on the Quad, to express their gratitude. The event will feature free pizza for students as they write thank-you notes, and free T-shirts, too.

The five faces below represent only some of the many people whose UC Davis experiences have been enriched by the generosity of donors. Share your own story on social media using the hashtag #byphilanthropy.

Keelan Doss ’19

Keelan Doss catches a football.
Keelan Doss, who struggled with injuries throughout his high school career, received only one scholarship offer: UC Davis.

National Football League scouting report websites had a lot to say about standout student-athlete Keelan Doss as a possible draft pick last week. And while he was not selected, he was signed immediately after as an undrafted free agent, going to his favorite childhood team, the Oakland Raiders — a dream come true for the Alameda County native.

Read more about Doss’ journey to UC Davis and his next challenge — the NFL.

Chancellor’s Fellow: Associate Professor Shota Atsumi

Shota Atsumi in a lab.
Shota Atsumi hopes to create a chemical that can act as a replacement for fossil fuels.

The heat is on as society searches for a substitute for petroleum and fossil fuels, which currently power much of the machines and technology in homes, schools and workplaces. Shota Atsumi, associate professor, is experimenting with new and exciting ideas in order to make the world a more sustainable place for the next generation.

Read more about the path to sustainability.

Behzod Tabesh ’20

Behzod Tabesh sits in a van.
Behzod Tabesh hopes to become a physical therapist. (Ashley Han/UC Davis)

Whether it’s helping people lose 30 pounds, cooking healthy meals for his clients or volunteering at local clinics, Behzod Tabesh ’20 loves to empower people to pursue healthy lifestyles. Tabesh is the first student recipient of the Joseph A. and Jean M. Teresi Memorial Scholarship, endowed by sisters Lisa Harris ’77 and Dina Bosby, recognizing his efforts to become a physical therapist.

Read more about Tabesh’s story.

Oscar Vazquez ’20

Oscar Vasquez in military uniform.
Oscar Vasquez was serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq when he decided more research was needed into traumatic brain injuries.

From Puerto Rico to Iraq to UC Berkeley and now at UC Davis, Oscar Vazquez ’20 finds his passion for the brain everywhere he goes. Now, he is leading meaningful work by researching traumatic brain injuries in the School of Medicine, where he received the 2016 Sandra Reed Scholarship and the 2017 Dean’s Scholarship.

Read more about Vasquez’s journey.

Martin Vega-Martinez ’20

Martin Vega-Martinez sits in front of an orange wall.
Martin Vega-Martinez has become a leader in several groups on campus.

Hope is a powerful emotion — it can get us through tough times, and it can help us persevere through trials and tribulations until we reach our goal. Third-year mechanical engineering student Martin Vega-Martinez is the perfect embodiment of what hope, combined with hard work, looks like.

Read more about Vega-Martinez’s path to becoming a community leader.