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US (CA): Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Agricultural Innovation breaks ground

Construction officially began on the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Agricultural Innovation Wednesday with a groundbreaking event celebrating the future $64.4 million facility at the University of California, Davis.

The 32,000 square-foot building will house classrooms, research spaces, laboratories and an agricultural engineering robotics and sensor fabrication shop. In addition to experiential learning and collaboration spaces, the facility will house a student success hub, including academic and career advising for the Wonderful Scholars Program, a scholarship program established by the Resnicks to support students from the Central Valley.

The new facility was made possible by the Resnicks' historic $50 million gift to UC Davis in 2022, which directed $40 million to the center while setting aside $10 million for annual competitive research grants to investigate new uses for agricultural byproducts from California's iconic specialty crops.

CA&ES Dean Helene Dillard, Chancellor Gary S. May, Wonderful Company's Chief Operating Officer of Corporate Social Responsibility Andy Anzaldo and Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations Shaun Keister at the groundbreaking of the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Agricultural Innovation. (José Luis Villegas/ UC Davis)

"The Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Agricultural Innovation furthers our commitment to excellence in research, learning and public service," Chancellor Gary S. May said during the ceremony. "It paves the way for advancements that benefit us all – from the fields of California to the far reaches of the world."

The center will be home to experts from across UC Davis focused on making crops more sustainable and resilient, developing next-generation technologies, expanding access to nutritious food, maximizing water and energy efficiencies and identifying beneficial uses for agricultural waste.

A hub for research, learning and innovation
Helene Dillard, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, said the building represents a commitment to advancing agricultural practices and environmental sustainability efforts through research, innovation and public service.

"The space will serve as a hub where educators, students and industry leaders can come together and foster a shared commitment for impactful research, spark new ideas and usher in a new generation of agriculture – a generation that can leverage technology and innovation across a host of disciplines and research topics, including genetics, phenotyping, bioinformatics, AI and robotics," Dillard said.

The building, which will be located between Hutchinson Drive and Extension Center Drive, was designed with flexibility in mind so that research can be ramped up quickly to understand which concepts may have commercial viability.

"We are laying the foundation for a brighter, more sustainable future for all," Dillard said.

The Resnicks are philanthropists and owners of The Wonderful Company, which produces a wide range of fruit, nut, flower, water and juice products. Andy Anzaldo, The Wonderful Company's chief operating officer of corporate social responsibility, called the groundbreaking a pivotal moment in the future of sustainability and agriculture.

"Protecting the future of our planet is one of the Resnicks' highest priorities," Anzaldo said. "It's why they've committed to equipping future scientists and leaders with the tools they need to fight the growing climate crisis."

He added that The Wonderful Company's connection with campus dates back four decades.

"It's because of that long history that there is no better partner than UC Davis and we trust no one more to drive long-term transformational innovation in agriculture," he said.

Completion of the building is expected in 2026.

"Today's ceremony is about planting the seeds of innovation and collaboration that will grow along the way," said Shaun B. Keister, vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations. "And when the doors finally open, we will have a new home for scientific discovery that will allow us to continue making positive changes in the world and inspire generations to come."


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