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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The late Larry N. Vanderhoef was chancellor emeritus and distinguished professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis. A plant biologist turned college administrator, he led UC Davis for 25 years—first as provost/executive vice chancellor (1984-1994) and then as chancellor (1994-2009). Under his leadership, the campus grew by nearly every measure: student population, faculty, rankings, stature, research funding and philanthropic donations. He taught classes from freshman level to advanced graduate study, and served on various national commissions addressing graduate and international education, the role of a modern land-grant university and accrediting issues. As chancellor emeritus, he served on multiple university and regional advisory boards, developed and taught an undergraduate biology course at UC Davis and at National Taiwan University, served on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, and chaired the California Public Utilities Commission’s Independent Review Panel investigating the 2010 San Bruno Gas Explosion. He succumbed October 15, 2015, to complications of successive ischemic strokes.

Cover page of <strong>INDELIBLY DAVIS</strong>:  A Quarter-Century of UC Davis Stories...and Backstories

INDELIBLY DAVIS:  A Quarter-Century of UC Davis Stories...and Backstories


A distinctly different kind of memoir, Indelibly Davis: A Quarter-Century of UC Davis Stories…and Backstories by UC Davis Chancellor Emeritus Larry Vanderhoef offers stories that will tell readers something new (and special) about the campus, that are relevant to its development and identity and that touch on its values and culture—on that special spirit that revered former UC President Clark Kerr believed set it apart from all other UC campuses. Chancellor Emeritus Vanderhoef has written about people who radiate that special Davis spirit…about wished-for do-overs…about conflicts (and responses)…about heartbreaking tragedy…about wing-and-a-prayer risk-taking…about the payoffs of patience and persistence…and about tough, principled decision-making (what his dad would call “having starch”).

“This lively and highly readable book is a distinctly different kind of memoir. Larry Vanderhoef makes UC Davis and its remarkable people the heart of his account of 25 years as a provost and chancellor—a choice that is beautifully vindicated by the power and insight of these stories. What emerges is a deeply engaging portrait of a university community and an academic leader for whom a life in higher education is not a career but a calling.”

—Patricia Pelfrey, UC historian and author

 “Larry tells full-bodied stories in a writing ‘voice’ that is inviting, unsparing, honest, self-effacing and still confident. Indelibly Davis is an engaging, illuminating read.”

—John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author

  • 16 supplemental videos
  • 2 supplemental audio files