UCDEA Video Records Project


Since 1993, the UCDEA Video Records Project has been creating an oral history of the UC Davis campus by recording interviews of emeriti/ae as well as others who have made significant contributions to the development of the university. These interviews take the form of a recorded conversation between the interviewee and one of his/her friends and/or colleagues. More than 470 interviews have been recorded to date (Spring 2018). All new emeriti/ae are encouraged to arrange for an interview.

Interview videos are shown regularly on the Davis Community TV (DCTV) cable channel, and may be streamed from their website.

DVDs of the Video Records Committee interviews through 2017 are on file in Special Collections, Shields Library. The Special Collections Reference Desk, which is on the Main Floor of the Library. Please consult the Reference Desk to check out a tape for viewing.

Reference Desk Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday through Friday
Reference Desk Phone: (530) 752-1621

Beginning in 2017, the committee has worked to post the interviews to the AggieVideo website. Use the "Search" feature in the upper right corner to find a recent video by last name. The List of Video Records Interviews is updated quarterly.

In Memoriam

We sadly note the recent passing of Robert L. Leighton, professor emeritus in Veterinary Surgery and James Lyons, professor emeritus in Vegetable Crops and founding director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. 

Robert L. Leighton

Robert L. Leighton, DVM, died on January 22, 2020; he was one month away from his 103rd birthday. Professor emeritus Leighton joined the veterinary surgical faculty at UC Davis in September 1965, teaching surgery and providing orthopedic surgical care. Although he retired in 1983, he continued teaching orthopedic courses and conducting research for another 25 years, and actively published for over 50 years. As an innovative surgeon, he developed many novel surgical approaches and made improvements on surgical instruments, necessary orthopedic implants, and prosthetic devices. His professional contributions are recognized by awards from the California Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, UC Davis, the University of Chile, and the University of Pennsylvania. As a lasting legacy of Leighton’s career, his talents and perspectives are noted in an interview with his colleague and friend, professor Murray E. Fowler (date interviewed: 10/16/01).

James M. Lyons

James M. Lyons, emeritus professor of Vegetable crops in the Department of Plant Sciences, died Nov. 9, 2019. He was 90. Professor Lyons contributed to the early research on the role and importance of ethylene in fruit ripening. After graduate training, he joined the vegetable crops faculty at UC Riverside. In 1970, however, he was recruited back to UC Davis as chair of the Vegetable Crops Department. During his tenure at Davis, he also served as assistant dean for Plant Sciences and Pest Management in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. In 1979, Professor Lyons became the founding director of the newly established UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program and Education Program and also served assistant director of the Agricultural Experiment Station. He retired in 1991. A summary of his many accomplishments may be found at In Memoriam: James Lyons. As a legacy to his department, Jim participated in the UCDEA's Video Records Project; click here to see his video. He is interviewed by his friend and colleague, emeritus professor Lawrence Rappaport; (date interviewed: 3/29/2001 ).

Recent Interviews

Lawrence J. Bass, MD, FAAD; Emeritus professor Bass is the founding chair of the Department of Dermatology, joining the faculty in the School of Medicine in 1973. He retired from UC Davis in 1982 to enter private practice. He is best known for his community health and clinical efforts. Colleagues have recognized him with awards, including the “Best Doctors in Sacramento” award, the Medical Honor Award, and the American Academy of Dermatology’s Gold Circle of Volunteerism Award. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is interviewed by his colleague, Dr. Sam Hwang, Professor and current chair of the Department of Dermatology at the UC Davis School of Medicine. https://video.ucdavis.edu/media/488+Bass/0_jj8y2jhq

Dr. John C (Jack) Palmer; Emeritus professor Palmer joined the faculty in the Urology, School of Medicine in 1970. He was a key player in establishing the UC Davis School of Medicine as a leader in clinical medicine (e.g., the UC Davis School of Medicine is currently ranked as one of the ten best in the nation for primary care training). Dr. Palmer was the founding chair of the Department of Urology and served as chair from 1970 to 1984. He retired in 2000. His clinical and research interests are in the areas of urologic and pediatric oncology, renal transplantation, and urinary tract infections. He is interviewed by his friend and colleague, Ernest Lewis, emeritus professor of Urology and emeritus associate dean of the School of Medicine. https://video.ucdavis.edu/media/489+Palmer.mp4/0_31s2bo88


Centennial DVD Project

As part of the commemoration of UC Davis’ centennial in 2010, Professor Emeritus Verne Mendel compiled many of the Video Records Project interviews — organized by college, school, or department — to create 23 DVD’s. He was awarded the Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship Award in 2008 for this project. Centennial DVDs may be viewed in the Special Collections section of Shields Library.

List of Centennial DVDs

About the Committee

The primary objective of the Video Records Committee is to record for posterity, interviews of emeriti/ae and distinguished retired members of the UC Davis campus. Additional information, including the current Charge and committee members can be found on the Standing Committees > Video Records Committee page.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Video History Project is comprised solely of volunteers. Opportunities abound and training can be provided.

  • Schedulers: Schedule interviews, working with the Interviewee, Interviewer, and Videographers.
  • Videographers/Editors: Learn to record in a professional-style studio and edit video with Adobe NLE editing software (will train!!).
  • Administrative: recruit candidates for interview, review and comment on draft video interviews.

If interested, please contact the UCDEA Video Records Committee via the UC Davis Retiree Center.