“Elvira proves to be indispensable to our student population, being a source of morale, care and resources, said Striley, co-chair of the Staff Assembly's Citations of Excellence Committee. “For the confused or troubled students, she is first and last resort for solution of problems not only of academic or administrative kind but those of a deeply personal nature as well. Elvira has been invaluable as a student advisor.”
Hack won an award in the highly competitive Individual Service Award category. The annual program singles out outstanding staff for their exemplary work in one of four areas: innovation, research, supervision and service. They all receive monetary prizes and certificates.
Lusa Papagni, assistant director of Student Housing and Dining Services, won the Individual Service Award. Hack, a student academic advisor II, received an honorable mention along with Jaqueline Dyson, administrative assistant III in the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
The animal biology program is part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematolgy.
Hexter commented that often universities describe “faculty achievement as something like the sun at the center of their institutional universe.” Their achievements, he said, are “the most recognizable sign of our excellence in the public eye.”
“It appears as if staff do their work on the dark side of the moon,” he quipped.
“But those of you who hold a staff position or work with staff know very well this is an incomplete picture of what makes a university great, including ours,” Hexter said, adding that "staff at all levels and in all departments are key to advancing institutional excellence, impact and reputation."
“You provide essential guidance for programs, policies and processes,” Hexter told them. “You are in front lines of taking all of these programs, policies and processes from idea to reality and also making sure they work effectively and efficiently. “
Lauding their passion, expertise.professionalism, "steadfast commitment and very hard work," Hexter praised them for their support of students, faculty and leadership and their drive to work efficiently and effectively. “You play a disproportionately large role on making our two campuses (UC Davis and UC Davis Medical Center) a true community in which all members can feel appreciated, supported, respected and included.”
Hexter, who announced Sept. 17 to the campus community that he will be stepping down from campus leadership in 2020, noted that “these are not facts learned by book but direct experience nearly years 9 years as provost. Without the contributions of an extraordinary staff in my work, the university would roll around like with a wagon with one wheel.”
Three affiliates of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology nominated Hack for the award: forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, master advisor for the animal biology major; chief administrative officer Nora Orozco, her supervisor; and communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey.
They wrote that Hack, a 17-year academic advisor at UC Davis, goes above and beyond to advocate for and mentor students. Hack empathizes with the needs of others, an empathy honed by her own life experiences and the desire to “pay it forward.” As a youth--the daughter of farmworkers--she toiled in agricultural fields in Dixon, picking bell peppers and sorting tomatoes. And as a single parent/high school dropout, she cleaned houses for a living. Her life took a sharp career turn when two of her clients, a UC Davis professor and his wife, encouraged her to finish high school and attend business college. They loaned her money for an electric typewriter. Ever since then, Hack, the beneficiary of a good deed never forgotten, has vowed to “pay it forward”--to help others as others have helped her.
“Elvira is likely the best academic advisor ever. Not only is she completely conversant with all the rules and regulations of the major, but understands the latitude of flexibility built into their application in a very human way," Kimsey wrote in the nomination packet. "She is connected with all the administrative functionaries necessary to efficiently accomplish any task in a timely manner. For the confused or troubled student, she is the first and last resort for the solution of problems not only of an academic or administrative kind but those of a deeply personal nature as well. She keeps them on track, outlining their options, helping them decide on their future professions, and the direction their life should take. She has been invaluable to me as the master advisor. She really does care about a student's fate. Moreover we have had great fun doing these tasks together.” (See feature story)
The award, administered by the UC Davis Emeriti Association, honors outstanding scholarship work or service performed since retirement by a UC Davis emeritus.
Distinguished professor emerita M. R. C. Greenwood, chair of the UC Davis Emeriti Association Awards and Recognition Committee, described him as a “pioneer researcher in the field of behavioral genetics, an internationally recognized scholar, a talented and innovative administrator, and a skilled teacher responsible for mentoring many of today's top bee scientists.”
Page's work on bee behavior “has set the standard nationally and internationally,” Greenwood said, adding “and many people in this room will know how important that research is to health and well being of our bees today.”
Page retired from UC Davis in 2004 after serving as chair of the Entomology Department (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology). “Then he was recruited to be the founding director of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University,” she said. “Today Dr. Page continues to work on how reproductive regulatory networks are altered by natural selection for division of labor in honor bees. As the 2019 UC Davis Distinguished Emeritus Professor, he does our university proud.”
In accepting the award, Page called it “a great and distinct honor.”
“I have multiple attachments to UC Davis,” he said. “I was a graduate student here (doctorate in entomology in 1980) and my wife was an undergraduate who graduated from here.”
Page said he met and recognized many people at the emeriti luncheon. “I've walked around and my Damaged Facial Recognition Software was just kind of spinning around,” he quipped. “But at any rate, a number of you I definitely remember and recognize and some of you, I almost remember and recognize.”
UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter welcomed the crowd. Chancellor Gary S. May chronicled some of the UC Davis national and international achievements, and thanked the academic retirees for “your dedicated service. And I wish you luck navigating this new chapter in your lives. So go boldly and Go Ags!” (UC Davis' strategic plan, “To Boldly Go,” outlines the aspirations and methods for guiding the university to new heights of distinction over the next 10 years.)
The chancellor introduced Greenwood as having “a highly distinguished career as a researcher and leader in higher education. “She was the first woman to serve in all of her leadership positions, including 14th president of the University of Hawaii, chancellor of UC Santa Cruz; and dean of Graduate Studies at UC Davis. An expert on obesity and diabetes, Dr. Greenwood most recently served as director of Foods for Health Initiative. She is also a distinguished professor emerita of nutrition and a current fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.”
“Our emeriti and retirees are a remarkable group of individuals,” Greenwood said. “A recent survey of the continuing teaching, research, mentoring and service for the entire University of California….showed that the collective continuing contributions of our academic retirees is the equivalent of an 11th campus—an 11th UC campus. So please let me please let me offer my congratulations to all of you who continue to help this magnificent campus. So give yourself a hand.”
“Unfortunately, neither of our rewardees—since they are extremely busy in their retirement doing research—are able to be here today,” Greenwood told the crowd.
In his nomination letter, Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wrote that “Robert Page is arguably the most influential honey bee biologist of the past 30 years,”
Born and reared in Bakersfield, Kern County, Rob received his bachelor's degree in entomology, with a minor in chemistry, from San Jose State University in 1976. After receiving his doctorate from UC Davis in 1980, he served as assistant professor at The Ohio State University before joining the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1989 as an associate professor. He began working closely with Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., (the father of honey bee genetics) for whom the university's bee facility is named. Together they published many significant research papers.
Page chaired the Department of Entomology from 1999 to 2004, when Arizona State University recruited him to be the founding director of the School of Life Sciences of Arizona State University (ASU). His ASU career advanced to dean of Life Sciences; vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and university provost.
Page is known for his research on honey bee behavior and population genetics, particularly the evolution of complex social behavior. One of his most salient contributions to science was to construct the first genomic map of the honey bee, which sparked a variety of pioneering contributions not only to insect biology but to genetics at large.
At UC Davis, he maintained a honey bee-breeding program for 24 years, from 1989 to 2015, managed by bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. They discovered a link between social behavior and maternal traits in bees. Their work was featured in a cover story in the journal Nature. In all, Nature featured his work on four covers from work mostly done at UC Davis.
Page and his lab pioneered the use of modern techniques to study the genetic basis of social behavior evolution in honey bees and other social insects. He was the first to employ molecular markers to study polyandry and patterns of sperm use in honey bees. He provided the first quantitative demonstration of low genetic relatedness in a highly eusocial species.
His work has garnered a significant impact in the scientific community through his research on the evolutionary genetics and social behavior of honey bees. He was the first to demonstrate that a significant amount of observed behavioral variation among honey bee workers is due to genotypic variation. In the 1990s, he and his students and colleagues isolated, characterized and validated the complementary sex determination gene of the honey bee; considered the most important paper yet published about the genetics of Hymenoptera. The journal Cell featured their work on its cover. In subsequent studies, he and his team published further research into the regulation of honey bee foraging, defensive and alarm behavior.
Page has authored than 250 research papers, including five books: among them “The Spirit of the Hive: The Mechanisms of Social Evolution,” published by Harvard University Press in 2013. He is a highly cited author on such topics as Africanized bees, genetics and evolution of social organization, sex determination, and division of labor in insect societies. His resume shows more than 18,000 citations.
Highly honored by his peers, Page is a fellow of a number of organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Academy of Sciences, the Entomological Society of America, and organizations in Germany and Brazil. He received the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, known at the Humboldt Prize, the highest honor given by the German government to foreign scientists. He most recently received the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Award from UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Acting Chancellor Ralph Hexter, Andre Knoesen, chair of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate; and Robin Erbacher, chair of the Academic Senate's Public Service Award Committee, congratulated her.
The award is presented annually to recognize a faculty member's significant public service contributions that benefit the local, regional, national, and/or international community.
“Dr. Kimsey has made outstanding contributions to public service and education through the numerous programs she has envisioned and directed through the Bohart Museum of Entomology,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “She is very deserving of this prestigious award.”
Highly esteemed for her public service, teaching and research, Kimsey administers the world-renowned Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses a global collection of some eight million insect specimens. She consults with international, national and state agencies; identifies thousands of insects every year for scientific collaborators, public agencies and the general public; answers scores of news media calls and insect questions; and encourages a greater appreciation of insects through the Bohart Museum open houses, workshops and lectures.
Kimsey's areas of expertise include insect biodiversity, systematics and biogeography of parasitic wasps, urban entomology and arthropod-related industrial hygiene.
Kimsey, who received both her undergraduate degree (1975) and her doctorate (1979) from UC Davis, joined the entomology faculty in 1989. The director of the Bohart Museum and executive director of the Bohart Museum Society since 1990, she has also served as interim chair and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, now the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
A two-year past president of the International Society of Hymenopterists, and a former board member of the Natural Science Collections Alliance, Kimsey is active in the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Washington Entomological Society. The Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA) honored her and colleagues Eric Mussen, Robbin Thorp, Neal Williams and Brian Johnson—“the UC Davis Bee Team”--with the outstanding team award in 2013. Kimsey also received the PBESA Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Award in 2014.
See initial news story.
“To say that Dr. Mary Louise Flint has been key to the success of California agriculture is not a misstatement or exaggeration,” Borg told the attendees. “The greatest threats to California's agriculture are the myriad of introduced and native pests and diseases. Keeping agricultural pests and diseases at bay while preserving the environment by an informed, balanced and interdisciplinary approach, an approach that is a hallmark of UC Davis.”
Borg, who chaired the Meyer Award Committee and served as the emcee at the dinner, noted that Flint was part of the original team that established the UC IPM Program in 1980. Since then her passion and vision for ecologically based IPM has influenced almost every aspect of IPM in the state, he said.
Before introducing her, Borg said: “I want to put her work in the context that it deserves and to do that, we need to understand a little about the significance of California agriculture.”
“In 2012 California was the top agricultural state in cash receipts at $44.7 billion. Iowa was second at $31.9 billion. Using data from 2007, Paul F. Starrs and Peter Goin in their Field Guide to Agriculture (UC Press 2010) make the case, for $37 billion in cash receipts for California's crops represents an agricultural economy of between $200-$300 billion.”
Borg related that when he “first started as an agriculture librarian over 30 years ago, I was introduced to Mary Louise Flint's work in IPM.” He praised her legendary status in California agriculture, “especially with regard to the University of California's role in California agriculture.”
He read a portion of the nomination letter by Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, that said: “Her name is synonymous with IPM, pest control alternatives, and public service, not just in California and the United States, but worldwide.” Parrella also noted that Flint “has been heavily involved in the leadership, creativity and success of UC IPM Program since 1982 and is UC IPM's longest-tenured employee.”
The UC Davis entomologist traced her history with the organization. “I remember attending the California State Fair in the early 1980s and being somewhat horrified to find the UC Master Gardeners answering questions using the Ortho Problem Solver and the Rodale Guide to Organic Gardening,” she said. “I was told that they relied on these books because UC provided very little garden pest management information.” That helped motivate her to write “Pest of the Garden and Small Farm.” From there, she and her colleagues moved on to Pest Management Guidelines, Pest Notes, Quick Tips, UC IPM website, UC IPM kiosk, our YouTube channel, blog and Twitter.
Flint is the third entomologist (Frank Zalom, 2004, and Thomas Leigh, 1988) to receive the Academic Federation award, first presented in 1971.