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University Farm Circle 

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History of UFC

Note: Here's a downloadable document about the History of UFC that you can share with others.


Before there was a UC Davis, the campus was “the University Farm” for the University of California at Berkeley. The University Farm School provided an education for farm boys ages 15 to 24. The University Farm also provided a place for the agriculture students at UC Berkeley to obtain practical experience and for California farmers to learn the latest farming techniques.

Founding of University Farm Circle: 1914

Soon after the establishment of the University Farm, Mrs. Kate Fizell came from Philadelphia to be the matron of South Hall dormitory. To help ease her loneliness, she began inviting faculty wives and other women associated with the school to her sitting room in the dormitory for informal social gatherings.

Many were as lonely as she, and these get-togethers helped them all adjust to living in this isolated, tiny town. In the fall of 1913, they began meeting regularly, and on February 13, 1914, these women became the 25 charter members of University Farm Circle. Thus, the circle of women from the University Farm was born.

Early Achievements

A constitution was adopted, and the women's organization quickly began its involvement in the growth and development of the school by helping the boys, many of whom were away from home for the first time. Through the years, members assisted in finding jobs for students, recommended a wage scale for women (1923), furnished a library browsing room with dozens of volumes on other-than-agriculture-related materials (1939), sponsored the student wives' group (1932) that became a chapter of University Dames (1959), established the UCD Medical Center Gift Shop (1976), established the Sabbatical House Listing Service (1977), and created an historical display for the university in commemoration of its 75th anniversary (1983).

Social Activities and Lectures

Before the Yolo Causeway was built, Davis was very isolated, and social activities quickly became an important part of Farm Circle. Local talent provided dramas, plays, and travelogues. Lectures were regularly scheduled. Topics included property rights between husband and wife (1923), corrective cultivation of the body (1935), and defense methods, with emphasis on blackout warnings and procedures (1941), as well as faculty lectures in areas of academic expertise. Entertaining fundraising events have long raised money to support a loan fund (1915-2008) and scholarships for women (since 1937).

Continuity of Purpose

Since its inception, University Farm Circle has changed with the times, adjusting its program and activities to meet the needs of its members. The constitution and bylaws have been revised many times. While UFC's purpose has been restated in up-to-date language, the original intent still guides us: to help the students, to welcome women new to Davis, and to provide interesting activities for the members.

Attempts to Change Our Name

Occasional attempts were made to change the name of UFC after the school became the Northern Branch of the College of Agriculture (of the University of California) in 1922. The sentiment, however, has always been to remember our roots: the organization started when the Davis campus was the University Farm, and the school has always had a strong agricultural element. The last attempt to change it was made in 1955 as the school was in the process of becoming UC Davis. The vote failed miserably. The name always has to be explained, but members prefer it that way.

University Farm Circle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
PO Box 858, Davis, CA 95617-0858

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