Two individuals became influential in this growing debate. One was William H. Saylor, a member of the California State Agricultural Society, later chemist and associate secretary of the State Dairy Bureau. Saylor was also a journalist for the Dairy and Produce Review, and took up the cause of improving instruction at Berkeley's College of Agriculture. The other was Peter J. Shields, secretary of the State Agricultural Society, who later became a superior court judge in Sacramento.
Shields took an interest in the issue when he discovered that young men had to go to school in other states to learn to judge dairy products. Shields later described his impression of the agricultural education available at the time: "There was a College of Agriculture at Berkeley in connection with the University of California, but it was purely academic. It was largely confined to the study of botany and chemistry; it had no farm and little prestige; it was apt to be thought of as a snap curriculum, attracting students who wanted to go to college but wanted to avoid its more difficult work." Shields began work to set up a more practical establishment for training young men and women interested in agriculture. Raised on a dairy farm in the Sacramento area, he felt such a school should combine the scientific "whys" and the technical "hows" of agriculture.
Creamery and livestock interests in this state also became active in the movement about this time and for the next two years, agitation for the passage of the bill continued. By the time the 1905 session of the legislature was ready to open, Shields had prepared another bill. In this he was assisted by Professor E. W. Major of the University, who was to become the first farm superintendent. When the bill finally was presented, Yolo county representatives who had been active in the matter added an amendment describing the kind of farm to be purchased and provisions relating to water and water rights. This rider written on a purple scrap of paper and pinned to the original draft provided that in soil, location, climate, and environment the place selected be typical of the best agricultural conditions in California. The object of the rider was to make the bill fit Yolo county rather than Berkeley and to add to the county's chances in securing the farm.
Senator Marshal Diggs of Yolo county and Assemblyman W. A. Johnstone of Los Angeles sponsored the bill. It was passed and immediately signed by Governor Pardee in 1905. More than 50 sites were considered for the farm, from Glenn county in the north to Fresno in the south. The Yolo county site was finally chosen, largely through the efforts of George W. Pierce, because it was in the center of California's great rural agricultural industry and most available for building up an educational institution so that all in this industry could have the easiest access to it. The soil and climate met the provisions of the legislative act and Yolo county represented the inter-relations of two great systems of California farming--rainfall and irrigation.
The first structure, built in 1907, was a residence for the farm manager. Over time, it housed the home economics department, the Faculty Club, the Departments of Economics, Geography, and Sociology, and the chancellor's office. According to campus lore, two fig trees, north of Sproul Hall, date back to the Davis plantings.
In 1909, the farm was described in this manner: "50 acres planted or to be planted to trees or vines, 50 acres for cereal investigation, 30 acres for investigating various methods of applying water, 80 acres in alfalfa and livestock, and 20 more under preparation. Various small tracts, buildings all of shingled construction, consisted of a dairy building, a livestock judging pavilion, a dairy barn, a seed house, a shop, a water tower. Under construction were a dining hall, a horticulture building, and veterinary clinic."
A leaflet about the University Farm of that period said, "The School of Agriculture is for young men who can spend more time in studying the principles and practices of agriculture. The full course is for three years and is granted to those who are 15 years of age and have completed the grammar grades of the common schools. Instruction is given in all lines of agriculture including farm practice, livestock judging, botany and plant propagation, horticulture, viticulture, dairying, breeds and feeding livestock, soil fertility, farm props, farm mechanics, irrigation, land surveying, mathematics, and English. The course does not fit [one] for college, it aims at the most practical needs of the young man who will operate his own farm. The school year continues from about September 20 to May 6 or nearly 8 months."
Arthur M. Cleghorn was appointed principal of the School of Agriculture; and E. M. Major, manager of the farm. In 1910, Leroy Anderson was named superintendent of the University Farm School and in 1913, Huber E. Van Norman was appointed dean. Dean Claude B. Hutchison followed in 1922. Walter Howard was director of the college from 1925 until 1937, when Assistant Dean Knowles Ryerson, who had been a student at Davis in 1916 and later an official of U. S. Department of Agriculture, went into office. In 1952, Ryerson moved to Berkeley as dean of the College of Agriculture there and Stanley B. Freeborn moved from the dean's office in Berkeley to the Davis campus as its first provost. He was named chancellor in 1958 and retired in 1959. He was succeeded by Emil M. Mrak.
In 1959, the Regents declared that Davis was to be a general campus of the University and in 1962, the College of Engineering was established--built on the well-developed agricultural engineering department that had long existed on the campus. Davis' own Graduate Division was established in 1961. In 1964, the School of Law was established, with the first students to be admitted for the fall of 1966. In 1965, the School of Medicine was authorized and a dean appointed, with the first students to be admitted in September, 1968. Although there were many women students attending Davis in the 1960s, this was not always so. The first women to brave the all-male stronghold came from Berkeley in 1914. These three women, all students of the College of Agriculture in Berkeley and all city born and reared, felt that they should come Davis for a term to get an insight into practical farming to round out their agricultural education.
Adding to Davis' strength in the sciences, several unique research features were developed, such as the Agricultural Toxicology and Residue Research Laboratory, Food Protection and Toxicology Center, the National Center for Primate Biology, Radiobiology Laboratory, Computer Center, and Ecology Center. A School of Medicine was planned it and was decided that it would be closely related to the growing and expanding School of Veterinary Medicine. Many research projects and basic facilities were to be shared by the two schools.
In planning for its future, the campus in the 1960s continued to develop in the sciences and at the same time build breadth and depth in the social sciences, humanities, and arts.
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